Jun. 12, 2023

ITIF: Losing the Lead: Why the United States Must Reassert Itself as a Global Champion for Robust IP Rights by Stephen Ezell

For decades, the United States was the leading advocate for a global trading system that respected and enforced intellectual property rights (IPR), both because the U.S. economy and millions of jobs depended on IPR and because policymakers understood how important IPR were to global advancement. Without that persistent and forceful U.S. voice, IPR around the world would have been considerably weaker, to the detriment of technological and other forms of progress.

Unfortunately, today, U.S. policymakers have walked away from that critical role, all too often arguing for weaker, not stronger, IPR and enforcement. In large part this is because many, including many in the Biden administration, have come under the influence of anti-IP proselytizers who see IP as a tool for corporate enrichment that limits access by working people, both at home, and abroad, especially in developing nations.1 For them, weak IP is a critical tool in the equity agenda: enabling cheaper drugs, free content, low-priced clean energy tech in less developed nations, and other redistributionist goals.

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