By Anthony McAuliffe
A group of organizations has written an open letter to Congress to show their strong support for free trade. We are proud to be one of the organizations signing on to this letter, as it reinforces our ideals that supporting free market principles is the only way to achieve prosperity for all people in the U.S. We believe that one of the key components of free trade is the establishment of strong protection for intellectual property.
Intellectual property (IP) rights are essential to the development of society for the benefit of citizens. Indeed, protecting IP allows for the promotion of culture, spurs innovation, and protects public health and safety. Our Founding Fathers were even at the forefront of this knowledge, giving Congress the power to protect IP in our Constitution. To allow for the continuous development of the U.S., we must always ensure the protection of IP.
So why does IP matter to free trade? By allowing for free trade, countries enable their businesses and citizens to more easily market and promote their ideas in other countries. However, once products and ideas enter a new country, they can easily be stolen or counterfeited if not adequately protected. Businesses and individuals wishing to market and sell products in other countries need IP protection to ensure their brands are protected from copyright or trademark infringement. Without this protection, nobody would enter into the markets in other countries. For free trade to even be a possibility, protection of IP must be in place and mutually agreed upon by all countries involved.
Going even further, IP allows for U.S. businesses, artists, and other industries to continue to innovative and be competitive in a global economy. If we want to continue to be a technological and cultural leader in the world, people and companies in these fields need to be assured that their brands and ideas will be protected wherever they try to invest in the world. Little protection means little incentive to innovate, causing us to lose our competitive edge in innovation.
Overall, free trade agreements in today’s global economy are very complex, yet there are basic and fundamental principles that each should address. One of these principles is the establishment of strong IP protection that mutually benefits all countries involved in the agreement. Strong agreements will allow America to maintain its position as global leader in innovation, benefitting the American economy and American citizens.
To read the open letter to Congress, scroll down or click here.