Congress Passes Intellectual Property Resolution

Recently, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H. Res. 1208, a resolution celebrating World Intellectual Property (IP) Day that emphasizes the benefits of IP to our economy and the importance of strong IP rights to American competitiveness.

Introduced by Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), along with Reps. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) and Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), the legislation highlights the goals of World Intellectual Property Day to promote, inform, and teach the importance of IP as a tool for economic, social and cultural development, while also supporting ongoing efforts to protect U.S. citizens from fraudulent and illegal counterfeiting and piracy.

This resolution signifies Congress’ overwhelming and bi-partisan support for intellectual property rights, and the role that innovation and creativity play in creating jobs and driving our economy.

American entrepreneurs invest a great deal of their time, money, and sweat into creating the next must-have technology. These innovators should have the comfort of knowing that their ideas will be protected, and that they will be compensated fairly in the free market. The ability to generate knowledge-based IP is essential to America’s prosperity and leadership. Counterfeiting, piracy, and IP theft cost U.S. companies $250 billion annually and 750,000 American jobs.

This problem, perpetrated by criminal organizations and a handful of governments, is killing jobs and stifling the innovation that drives our economy. Criminal networks are exploiting weaknesses in supply chains and enforcement in order to line their pockets by producing dangerous and defective products. Intellectual property accounts for more than one-half of all U.S. exports, helping drive 40 percent of our economic growth, and employing more than 18 million Americans.

In the coming weeks, Victoria Espinel, America’s first Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, will be delivering to Congress the nation’s first National IP Enforcement Strategy. This plan will defend America’s intellectual property by cracking down on the counterfeiting and piracy that is killing jobs, harming consumers, and stunting our economic recovery. The Obama administration is hopeful that this strategy will play a major role in the resurgence of American competitiveness.

SBEA members have argued that IP laws must be strengthened and enforced so that businesses will have the confidence and predictability to invest in R&D that could result in the next great breakthrough and the hiring of new employees. The White House’s new National IP Strategy will play a main role in shaping this economy, and restoring confidence in innovators, entrepreneurs and investors.