The Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) celebrated the importance of a strong intellectual property rights system at its 9th Annual World Intellectual Property Day Forum on April 24. IPI president Tom Giovanetti gave opening remarks highlighting the property rights basis for IP protection. He stated:
The property right is the key that gives creators and innovators the ability to surmount the obstacles they face in countries where economies are not developed. It can be an engine of economic growth and economic development. Without property rights, you can’t have markets; you can’t sell and you can’t buy. IP is so important to the knowledge and information economy.Panelists discussed the enduring value of a property-rights-based concept of IP rights amidst the various developments affecting IP-based industries today. Sandra Aistars, CEO of the Copyright Alliance, and Geoffrey Manne, founder and Executive Director of the International Center for Law and Economics, discussed the potential implications of the Aereo litigation on content owners, service providers, and video distributors alike.
Dana Colarulli, Director of the Office of Governmental Affairs in the United States Patent and Trademark Office [“USPTO”] provided updates on how the USPTO is reacting to and keeping up with the new challenges posed by the digital age economy. Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association of Competitive Technology, discussed the roles of the U.S. government and ICANN in promoting the rights of trademark owners during and after the transition to the new system of top-level domains (TLD).
Grant Aldonas, Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Joe Damond, Senior VP for International Affairs at the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Stevan Mitchell, Principal at Globalview Strategies, and moderator Steve Pinkos of the American Continental Group discussed the need to include IP terms in international trade agreements in order to promote innovation and reward investment in IP-intensive industries around the world.
Tom Giovanetti noted the remarkable impact of IP-intensive industries on the U.S. economy. Citing facts contained in “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy” [“IP Report”] released by the Department of Commerce, Mr. Giovanetti explained that the entire U.S. economy relies on some form of IP. Classic IP-based industries constitute the largest U.S. export. IP-intensive industries accounted for 60.7% of total merchandise exports and about 19% of service exports in 2010. While IP-intensive industries provided 18.8 percent of all jobs in the economy in 2010, IP-intensive industries employ over 55 million Americans today.
In addition to providing many other data points that show the substantial value of IP-based industries, the Commerce Department's IP Report stated that innovation is a primary driver of U.S. economic growth and national competitiveness:
Innovation protected by IP rights is key to creating new jobs and growing exports. Innovation has a positive pervasive effect on the entire economy, and its benefits flow both upstream and downstream to every sector of the U.S. economy. Intellectual property is not just the final product of workers and companies—every job in some way, produces, supplies, consumes, or relies on innovation, creativity, and commercial distinctiveness. Protecting our ideas and IP promotes innovative, open, and competitive markets, and helps ensure that the U.S. private sector remains America’s innovation engine.