World IP Day and Legislative Progress

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Holly Sadler

This Wednesday, April 26, American Commitment is celebrating World Intellectual Property (IP) Day. Not only are we celebrating this year’s theme – the role that intellectual property rights play in making our lives healthier, safer, and more comfortable – but we are also celebrating recent progress in the House of Representatives on this issue.

Innovation is everywhere – from the cars we drive, to the cell phones we use, to the prescription drugs that help us live better and longer lives. And we believe that, in order for this progress to continue, the rights of creators to own and control their intellectual property must be protected.

For example, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, the average time and cost of bringing a drug to market today is 10 years and over $2.6 billion. There must be opportunity to recoup those costs and earn a profit so that new cures can continue to be developed. Even Bill Gates said last year that “The drug companies are turning out miracles and we need their R&D budgets to stay strong. They need to see that opportunity.”

Similar stories can be found all around you in nearly every industry. Without the returns to justify research and development, progress on new and innovative items will slow – or even stop.

We have been pleased to see a recent effort in the House of Representatives to focus on ways to protect intellectual property in order to continue encouraging growth and innovation.

We recently wrote about the PROMOTE Act, which would finally give performers input in where their music is played and how they are compensated, rather than allowing the government to dictate these terms with AM/FM radio stations.

Now, we expect to see a House vote on H.R. 1695, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017, on Wednesday – World IP Day.

The US Copyright Office has long been in need of significant upgrades and modernization in order to adequately protect copyright holders, but it also requires significant structural reforms. And last year, when the Register of Copyrights – who favored protecting IP rights – was unceremoniously locked out of her office by the Librarian of Congress and essentially reassigned as a consultant to the Library’s gift shop, we argued that such an important office should be governed by a Presidential appointee, rather than subject to the whims of the Librarian…or other political forces. H.R. 1695 would make that happen and implement other necessary reforms to improve this office’s operations.

On this World IP Day, we are encouraged by a renewed focus on ways to protect intellectual property rights and would urge Congress to support these efforts. Intellectual property intensive industries have enhanced our daily lives in so many ways and they contribute significantly to economic growth and progress. 

Photo Credit: A Health Blog