Frank Cullen
Former Vice President, U.S. Intellectual Property Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


February 08, 2022


Key takeaways:

  • Key executive branch positions responsible for promoting and protecting America’s creators remain unfilled.
  • America’s creative economy is a massive economic driver supporting millions of jobs and trillions in U.S. GDP.

Over a year into the Biden Administration, America’s creators—from filmmakers and musicians to fashion designers and video game developers—remain un-represented, with several executive branch positions necessary to support the creative industry sitting empty. 

America’s creative industries have long been a source of strength and dynamism, enriching our economy and society in countless ways. By creating new content, products, and services, they generate jobs and income, foster innovation, and promote cultural expression.

Creatives are also a huge economic driver. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, intellectual property, which is foundational to the creative industry, helps support more than 45 million American jobs and accounts for more than $6 trillion in U.S. GDP

That’s why it’s essential to fill executive branch positions responsible for curbing large-scale online piracy, administering patents and trademark protections, combating global IP theft, and enforcing international trade law. Moreover, these protections are critical for creators to make a livelihood from their works.

The Administration should appoint leaders who understand the importance of America's creative economy and are committed to its support. That's why the Biden Administration should move quickly to:

  • First, secure speedy approval of Kathi Vidal for Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO plays an essential role in encouraging American creators, and Vidal is well poised to lead the agency in the right direction. As U.S. Chamber Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley said, “Vidal’s distinguished legal expertise in patent litigation, including her work with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, provides her with the experience and perspective to serve as USPTO Director.” The creative industry looks forward to collaborating with Ms. Vidal as soon as her appointment is confirmed.
  • Second, fill the position of U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC). President Biden himself helped implement the law that created IPEC, so he understands the position’s significance. The IPEC oversees Executive Office efforts to curb piracy. The U.S. Chamber estimates streaming piracy saps as much as $71 billion from the U.S. economy each year, and up to half a million American jobs. Creators need a committed, passionate ally to tackle these problems anew.
  • Third, stabilize the position of National IPR Director. For more than a decade, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, led by the National IPR Director, has been at the forefront of the U.S. government’s response to combating global IP theft and enforcing international trade laws. Unfortunately, the Center has been impacted by too-frequent leadership turnover. This critical investigation and enforcement role must be elevated and empowered to provide long-term, strategic assistance to U.S. intellectual property-intensive industries.

As the Biden Administration makes appointments to these key posts, we hope they will support creators with qualified individuals who understand how important it is to protect intellectual property rights to maintain a healthy climate in which creators can thrive.

About the authors

Frank Cullen

Frank Cullen is former Vice President of U.S. Intellectual Property Policy.