Thaddeus Swanek Thaddeus Swanek
Senior Writer and Editor, Strategic Communications, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


April 29, 2021


This week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) hosted the Innovation Ecosystems Event Keynote Session – “The Common Thread.” The session focused on how innovation ecosystems foster a culture of transformation that allows society to harness their collective creativity, collaborate, and contribute to breakthrough products and services.

What was discussed?
U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark and a cross section of business leaders shared how intellectual property (IP) protection is vital to creativity and innovation in industries ranging from biotechnology to movie making.

Speakers agreed that when strong IP protections are in place, possibilities for breakthrough happen like medical advancements to protect us against global pandemics; new entertainment is possible like music, TV show, and video games everyone can enjoy.

With technological innovations, work and everyday life becomes more enjoyable and convenient. What’s more, these IP protections don’t just support actors, musicians, or biomedical engineers: they create thousands of jobs in small companies and local communities for people in supporting roles.

What are the experts saying?
“It’s vital that global policymakers and thought leaders truly understand the multi-stakeholder innovation ecosystem and the critical role of intellectual property rights.” – Suzanne Clark, president and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“IP is so important for protecting that investment. Making sure that if it makes it all the way through the clinical trial pipeline, all the way out to patients, that it will create a product that can, hopefully, recoup some of that investment.” – Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, president and CEO, Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

“We have investors that participate in every stage of our ecosystem…All of that investment rests upon the potential promise…that if you are successful—and you do change lives—that there will be a reward at the end of the day.” – Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath.

“There is one common factor: that is the reliance on the IP system as the key driver for the creative economy…The IP system is just foundational to every aspect of our industry from getting a project off the ground, to protecting that content once that project is already made. Copyright establishes a framework for creators to actually see that return on their investment. And the reason they need to do that is so that they can continue to create.” – Karyn A. Temple, senior executive vice president and global general counsel, Motion Picture Association.

“Counterfeits are a serious risk to our business. If customers do not trust what they purchase through the Amazon, store we know they can, and will, shop elsewhere…That’s why Amazon strictly prohibits the sale of counterfeits.” – Anna Dalla Val, director, global brand relations, Amazon.

“Creative outputs like a song, movie, or video game don’t just happen. They involve a high degree of personal sacrifice and artistic commitment. Our panelists talked about the years and years of investments in people…as well as the investments in our own communities to create this vibrant ecosystem.” – Danny Marti, head of global government affairs, RELX and vice chairman, GIPC.

Why it matters:
Our economy is driven by the need to innovate, create, and develop new ways to serve consumers, and businesses that rely on IP play an essential role.

Consider these statistics:

  • IP-intensive industries employ over 45 million Americans.
  • The average worker in an IP-intensive industry earns about 46% more than his counterpart in a non-IP industry.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, IP is worth $6.6 trillion to the U.S. economy, and IP-intensive industries account for over one-third of total U.S. GDP.

Additional resources:

About the authors

Thaddeus Swanek

Thaddeus Swanek

Thaddeus is a senior writer and editor with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's strategic communications team.

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