Intellectual property is a key driver of our economy. So it matters that we have the right approach to intellectual property enforcement; one that is thoughtful, dedicated and effective, and that makes good and efficient use of our resources. The release of the Administration’s 2013 Joint Strategic Plan for Intellectual Property Enforcement builds on our efforts to protect intellectual property to date, and provides a roadmap for our work over the next three years.
Innovation and creativity have always been the foundation of our economy, and effective enforcement of intellectual property rights enables us to promote economic growth, ensure our global competitiveness, and protect the health and safety of our citizens. Today’s release of the Administration’s 2013 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement builds on our efforts to protect intellectual property to date, and provides a roadmap for our work over the next three years. In preparing the 2013 Joint Strategic Plan, we solicited public comment on how to improve our approach, and that public input was invaluable in drafting the final version of the Joint Strategic Plan. We will continue to seek public views on how to best promote and protect intellectual property rights.
Intellectual property is a key driver of our economy. So it matters that we have the right approach to intellectual property enforcement; one that is thoughtful, dedicated and effective, and that makes good and efficient use of our resources.
Ours is a Nation of entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists. The ideas that American citizens generate catalyze cutting edge research, ensure longer and healthier lives, and power the globe’s most productive economy. Our ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit make the United States great, and we must fiercely defend that competitive advantage. As President Obama has said, “If the playing field is level, I promise you – America will always win.”
Since the first Joint Strategic Plan was released in 2010, the Administration has made tremendous progress in intellectual property enforcement. Coordination and efficiency of the Federal agencies has improved; U.S law enforcement has increased significantly and we have successfully worked with Congress to improve our legislation. We have increased our focus on trade secret theft and economic espionage that give foreign governments and companies an unfair competitive advantage by stealing our technology. We have pressed our trading partners to do more to improve enforcement of all types of intellectual property. We have encouraged the private sector to do more on a voluntary basis to make online infringement less profitable as a business, consistent with due process, free speech, privacy interests of users, competition law and protecting legitimate uses of the Internet.
Moving forward, we remain committed to protecting intellectual property and are building on the approach set out in the original Strategy. For example, we will continue to look for ways to make enforcement as coordinated and efficient as possible. We will look for ways to further increase transparency and outreach to a broad range of interests and views. We will continue to encourage companies to take voluntary steps to reduce the profit incentive from online infringement, consistent with due process, free speech, privacy interests and competition law, and we will also encourage rightholders to agree to a set of best practices to reduce infringement online.
We will review our domestic legislation to make sure it is effective and up-to-date. We will look for ways to use technology better to make enforcement more efficient and targeted. We want to discourage infringement and encourage those that are appropriately building on the works of others to create new works, so we will educate authors on how fair use works to allow creation of new works. We will increase support for small and medium sized companies that are seeking to expand into foreign markets. And we will begin collecting information on labor conditions in the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit and pirated goods overseas.
These are just some of the important initiatives that are set forth in the Joint Strategic Plan – for a complete list of all items in the 2013 strategy, see page 10.
I want to highlight two areas where we are looking for additional public input. First, we want to make sure that enforcement of patents at the border is as efficient and transparent possible so we are seeking views on how to improve that process. Also we want to know if the voluntary initiatives we have encouraged to reduce online infringement are working well and having a positive impact. So to that end, today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is asking the public for input on the best way to assess the effectiveness of voluntary initiatives. I encourage you to let us know your views. Public input is critical to ensure that we maintain the right approach moving forward.
I look forward to working with you to further enforce and protect American intellectual property rights. With continued leadership by the Administration and the support of Congress, the American people will continue to lead the world in innovation, and this innovation will continue to fuel our economy.
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Victoria Espinel is the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator