US Technology, IP Industries Offer Policy Wish Lists For Obama 12/12/2008 by Liza Porteus Viana, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)By Liza Porteus Viana for Intellectual Property Watch The United States Chamber of Commerce is calling on President-Elect Barack Obama to fill key intellectual property enforcement posts within the first 100 days of taking office. Meanwhile, other trade associations also have delineated their wishes on IP, innovation and technology, with one calling for a drastic shift away from heavy-handed IP protection. One of the IP posts in the new administration is a new position of intellectual property enforcement coordinator within the Executive Office of the President. That position was created by the “Pro-IP” bill enacted this fall, despite opposition from the Justice and Commerce departments. The Chamber also wants Obama to fill the following jobs soon: US trade representative, White House chief technology officer (CTO), Patent and Trademark Office director, undersecretary for international trade at the Commerce Department, assistant attorney general of the criminal division of the Justice Department, and commissioner of customs and border patrol, as well as assistant secretary for immigration and customs enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security. The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) on Thursday outlined its lobbying efforts [pdf] for the 111th Congress (starting in January) and its recommendations on how the Obama administration can protect American intellectual property from piracy and counterfeiting. “We see an enormous opportunity here,” said Rick Cotton, NBC Universal’s executive vice president and general counsel, and chairman of the GIPC. “There is an enormous unity in purpose in terms of the recognition of the importance – the economic importance – of the foundation blocks of innovation and creativity.” The Chamber also is calling for full funding and implementation of the Pro-IP Act, and the passage of a Customs and Border Protection agency reauthorisation bill that would halt trafficking of illicit goods into the US. “We think these two things will make a big dent in counterfeiting and piracy that exists out there,” said GIPC Executive Vice President Mark Esper, who added that if negotiations progress on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), “we can make a significant movement on the world stage as well.” The Chamber also is pushing for passage of a bill [pdf] by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, and Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch that would require the Office of the US Trade Representative to push countries violating US intellectual property rights to take specific steps to stop those violations. It would also give the president more enforcement tools – ie, ability to halt financing – to deal with countries that refuse to cooperate, and would boost staff at foreign embassies to enforce American IP rights. Cotton argued that the counterfeiting threat needs to be viewed similarly to the way terrorism is – identify the foreign countries that pose the biggest threat first, then encourage them to enforce their anti-counterfeiting laws and interdict shipments of counterfeit goods before they reach the US. The GIPC plans a major push on the international front, which includes calling for more enforcement from groups such as the World Trade Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, and in various international agreements. “We are very concerned that the intellectual property … is under threat by some looking for short-term gain,” Esper said. He cited specific concern in the green technologies area. Obama has called for a boost in the number of green jobs to be made available here in the US as the country tries to decrease its dependence on foreign oil and move toward more environmentally-friendly energy sources. The UN Climate Change Conference met in Poland this week to try to find a balance between needed incentives for innovation and affordable access to new technology (IPW, Technical Cooperation/Technology Transfer, 11 December 2008). The GIPC argues that IP protection is even more vital with these new technologies coming online, and will take that message to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Copenhagen meeting in December 2009. The Chamber also wants the Obama administration and Congress to: encourage China to implement new patent, trademark and copyright laws; pursue reforms on data exclusivity, incremental innovation (Indian patent law doesn’t allow patents for incremental improvements to existing products) and optical disc legislation in India; work toward better retail and copyright enforcement in Russia; and oppose efforts by governments in Southeast Asia and the western hemisphere from inappropriately expanding unwarranted exceptions to patent protections the chamber says constitute the legalised theft of intellectual property. “Increasingly, government and others are who have begun to question whether intellectual property is the essential ingredient of economic growth, which we believe it is,” GIPC President David Hirschmann said, asserting that organised criminal networks cost the US economy about $250,000 billion a year and 700,000 jobs. MPAA, BSA and CCIA Separately, Motion Picture Association of America Chairman Dan Glickman told the World Affairs Council this week that there is a growing stake in international property rights. Noting that intellectual property industries – from movies to computer software to cars and agriculture – account for half of US gross domestic product, other countries will see huge growth in these sectors, as well, he added. “As more countries pursue their own innovation economies, I believe we’ll see rising global support for intellectual property rights,” Glickman said. “It’s no longer an American issue, but one that increasingly is meaningful to all who create value with their minds.” The Business Software Alliance (BSA) also announced its 2009 technology agenda, which includes: ensuring that economic stimulus measures promote innovation and investment in advanced technologies throughout the economy; patent reform; boosting domestic and international IP enforcement; enhancing funding for federal and state efforts to combat IP theft with specialised IP units; and opposing technology mandates that dictate one business model over another. BSA also wants Obama’s CTO to be a member of the president’s senior economic policy team and the chief “evangelist” for policies to spur innovation and economic growth. Meanwhile, Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association published a piece in the San Jose Mercury News (California) calling for changes to the US intellectual property policy in three ways. He urged the United States to stop “browbeating” its trading partners into adopting “draconian” IP protection measures, as it is alienating its friends. Second, allow more open flow of US cultural material rather than repressively restricting sharing of copyrighted content. Rather, find another way to provide incentives to the IP industries. Third, the US should encourage foreign countries to adopt exceptions to copyright that exist in the United States such as fair use. “Hollywood should direct movies – not trade policy,” Black said. “The USTR shouldn’t be pressured to adopt extreme views on copyright, including harsh unbalanced IP enforcement rules in trade agreements, particularly since these policy preferences find little support in economic data.” Liza Porteus Viana may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related "US Technology, IP Industries Offer Policy Wish Lists For Obama" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.