2014: A Year of Action to Foster Innovation

2014: A Year of Action to Foster Innovation

01.30.14 | By Jay Taylor

In his State of the Union, President Obama said, "A nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow." We couldn't agree more. In keeping with the theme he articulated on Tuesday night, 2014 should be a year of action, and we believe now is the time to enact policies that protect American intellectual property and innovation and ensure that the global marketplace does the same.

In reality, protecting IP and innovation not only supports innovators and creators, but also attracts research and development opportunities and foreign direct investment. Studies have shown that strengthening intellectual property rights in high-tech industries, including the biopharmaceutical sector, increased foreign direct investment and trade. This holds true for both developed and developing countries.

Unfortunately, not all countries understand the value of innovation. A recent report from the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) found that while a number of countries have actively worked toward improving IP protections, others have regressed, enacting policies that stifle innovation. India, for example, has the weakest IP environment of all the countries analyze by GIPC.

The biopharmaceutical industry was especially impacted by these decisions. India not only revoked patents generally accepted around the world and announced other patent medicines are being considered for compulsory licenses, but also ruled that a cancer drug protected in 40 jurisdictions globally did not meet the country's patentability standards.

Other countries are considering following India's lead and have introduced similar reforms that would weaken IP protections. If implemented, these policies will adversely affect our ability to innovate to bring new medicines to patients. The world is watching, and the time to take action is now if the U.S. is to really go all-in on innovation to remain the most innovative country in the world.

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