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World Intellectual Property Day


Workers unload counterfeit goods for shredding at a customs-bonded warehouse. April 6, 2016.

Protecting the rights of innovators by protecting intellectual property creates an environment where advances in technology, art, literature and medicine can flourish.

Innovation improves lives and communities. Protecting the rights of innovators by protecting intellectual property creates an environment where advances in technology, art, literature and medicine can flourish. Today, World Intellectual Property Day, we celebrate the rights that make innovation possible.

Intellectual Property Rights or IPR are integral to new ideas and the economic gains they bring a society, says Patricia Haslach, who is Acting Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State:

“You have to have IPR. If you don’t have IPR, you’re not going to have creation. You’re not going to have people innovating, you’re not going to have people willing to take a chance with a new product, so it is critically important. What’s also important is that you have the due process, the transparency, the law enforcement regulations, everything in place in order that you can protect folks that are creating and in the sphere of intellectual property rights.”

Such a framework has helped U.S. innovators, said Assistant Secretary Haslach:

“We estimate that it’s contributed to about 50 percent of our exports. It’s contributed to our GDP and we’ve also found that people that work in the area of IPR that have products that have been brought to market via IPR tend to make more money and those companies tend to be much more successful.”

These rights are critical, she said, “Not just for the developed countries but also for the developing world.”

Local inventors and creators are particularly well-placed to find solutions for local problems and create artistic content that reflects local culture.

The State Department promotes Intellectual Property Rights worldwide through programs such as Patents for Humanity – which accelerates patent review of inventions with humanitarian benefits. The annual Special 301 report identifies challenges faced by U.S. industries in enforcing Intellectual Property Rights in foreign markets, calls for policy reforms or technical assistance to address these barriers, and highlights positive progress.

“It is important,” said Assistant Secretary Haslach, “To highlight the critical link between these innovations that make our lives better and the regulatory, judicial and law enforcement frameworks that make them possible.”

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