A Principled Approach to a New Narrative on IP

Patrick Kilbride Patrick Kilbride
Former Senior Vice President, Global Innovation Policy Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


September 13, 2023


Shaping policy requires a principled approach, which is why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) and its partner organizations are introducing a new narrative on IP rights. These IP principles are a comprehensive set of beliefs  intended to shape  the  debate around intellectual property (IP) and the role IP rights play in American leadership, competitiveness, and innovation.

Big stakes: IP continues to be a massive economic driver for jobs and investment. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in the United States alone, IP supports $7.8 trillion in GDP and more than 47 million jobs. 

 The problem: Over the past decade, critics have driven a false message  misconstruing and ignoring  facts to characterize the global IP system as a barrier to innovation.  

 Devastating consequences: As a result, effective IP policy has suffered stinging defeats from:  

  • World Trade Organization (WTO), which approved a U.S. supported IP waiver on medical innovation;  
  •  United States Congress, which made a groundbreaking decision to nullify IP rights through price controls; and  
  • The American court system, whose ambiguous and often conflicting rulings increase uncertainty for innovators and consumers alike.  

These actions have weakened the predictable, rules-based system of enforceable IP rights and discouraged investment in new IP-intensive products and services, from medicines and software to music and movies.  

When IP rights are diluted, innovative and creative output are diminished, U.S. technological leadership is put at risk, and Americans are left more vulnerable to harms from criminal manipulation and identity theft through counterfeiting and piracy.

What’s the solution: There must be a prioritization  of the vital importance of strong IP rights. Newly released IP Principles from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and industry stakeholders  aim to reshape   the debate on IP and channel our collective political, social, and economic energy into a new, pro-IP narrative that benefits everyone. The principles clarify the role the IP system already plays in driving American innovation and economic growth, and they emphasize how  a healthy IP system can  usher in a new American century. 

Putting it into action: Ultimately, the IP Principles can help create and connect a diverse set of policies that will: 

  • Protect America’s global innovation leadership: The United States must approach IP policymaking as an opportunity to project our values to the world and to maintain global leadership in setting the 21st-century’s innovation standards and discoveries.  
  • Promote the development of critical and emerging technologies in the U.S.: The United States must invest in the appropriate legal frameworks to promote innovations in critical existing and emerging technology sectors, like advanced technology and breakthrough medicine 
  • Champion America’s Creative Industry : The United States must  advocate on behalf of  of America’s creative industries to bring joy, entertainment, culture and educational benefits to  to Americans and the world. 
  • Hold bad actors accountable for IP crime: The United States must leverage resources at all levels of government and promote public-private collaborations to reduce IP crime and crack down on digital piracy and physical counterfeiting. 
  • Unleash the full potential of American entrepreneurial ingenuity: The United States must create incentives and remove obstacles for American entrepreneurs, so that they are fully engaged, supported, and empowered to achieve success. 

Bottom Line: If policymakers can create and implement new policies according to these principles, the 21st century will be  a truly American century, where American innovation thrives and multiples for the good of the world.

A Principled Approach to a New Narrative on IP

About the authors

Patrick Kilbride

Patrick Kilbride

Kilbride is senior vice president of the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC).