April 30, 2021


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Senior Vice President of the U.S. Chamber Global Innovation Policy Center Patrick Kilbride issued the following statement in response to the release of the Special 301 Report by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). The annual report reviews the global state of intellectual property (IP) rights protection and enforcement.

“Innovations enabled by IP are delivering us from the current pandemic, and can defend us against the next one – if predictable, reliable, and enforceable intellectual property rights remain available world-wide to secure the underlying investments. USTR’s work to highlight strengths and weaknesses in the global IP infrastructure is critical to a healthy innovation ecosystem. With the Special 301 Report as a blueprint, we can enhance the legal and economic environment to support the vaccine researchers, movie and music producers, scientific journal publishers, software and telecommunications engineers, and countless others whose cutting-edge products have supported us throughout this crisis.

“This year, in its filing, the U.S. Chamber identified systemic and market-specific IP issues in global markets like: Brazil, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Indonesia, India, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Vietnam, Turkey, Korea, China, and Mexico (among others). We focused on harmful policy realities like: insufficient patent protection; compulsory licensing; inadequate responses to counterfeiting and piracy; forced screen and broadcast quotas; localization requirements; regulatory approval delays; unfair competition law proceedings and extraterritorial remedies; data transfer restrictions; and general market access barriers.

“Today, we reiterate our concern that the mistaken belief that IP rights can be a barrier to access for COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics has induced some countries, U.N agencies and special interest groups to seek to undermine those rights. Let me be clear: IP rights help – they don’t hinder – access to innovation by enabling long-term investments in technology in the first instance, and by supporting a wide range of public and private partnerships to appropriately share know-how and capabilities through IP licensing. The U.S. Chamber International IP Index shows that countries with strong IP systems have significantly higher innovation production, invention rates, and knowledge output – as well as greater access to innovation.

“We thank USTR and the U.S. government as a whole for their consideration of our filing and, more importantly, we commend them for their efforts to promote and protect American intellectual property at home and around the world.”