NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 2, 2007

The White House will soon have an excellent opportunity to deliver an unambiguous message to our global trading partners: Intellectual property rights must be taken seriously all the time -- not just some of the time and not just for a select few, say Paula Stern, former chairwoman of the U.S. International Trade Commission, and Robert Goldberg, co-founder of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

This opportunity arises from a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban patent-infringing cell phone chips from importation and sale in the United States.  There is good reason for the White House to uphold this decision, say Stern and Goldberg:

  • Weakening intellectual property rights hurts any company that puts innovation at the heart of its growth strategy -- whether the company is in Menlo Park or Mumbai.
  • It also hurts consumers, who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the competition and innovation that intellectual property protection fosters.
  • Rather than setting precedents for weakening intellectual property rights, White House leadership should demonstrate to the world how to protect intellectual property, which spurs development and improves the quality of life for people.

This is an opportunity to underscore the fact that one of the foundations of the U.S. economy is intellectual property rights.  It would also prod the companies involved to the negotiating table to come up with market-based solutions that keep government out of what should be commercial decisions, explain Stern and Goldberg.

A decision to let the ITC ruling stand would be a win-win for the administration: It would strengthen our credibility on intellectual property rights with our trading partners and allow for a market-based solution to a commercial dispute, both sensible ways to encourage innovation, investment and global growth.

Source: Paula Stern and Robert Goldberg, "To Protect Intellectual Property, U.S. Should Stop Playing Politics," Investor's Business Daily, August 2, 2007.


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