U.S. IP Commission Explores Foreign Theft; Ignores Domestic

The pain inflicted by U.S. companies on other American businesses and the economy from domestic IP theft receives scant attention in a timely recent study.

The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property (the IP Commission), an independent, bi-partisan initiative of leading Americans from the private sector, public service in national security and foreign affairs, academe, and politics, has issued a report and recommendations on IP theft that attempts to address a global problem while ignoring its deep local roots.

A beam of much needed light on a sea of anti-patent, anti-IP monetization proposals circulating in Washington, the IP Commission’s findings are too important not to take seriously and its recommendations too brave to ignore. However, the Commission cannot be let off for what it fails to consider: The damage that domestic IP theft inflicts on the US economy.

In DC Watchdog Gets Serious About Foreign Theft of U.S. IP, in the September Intangible Investor in IAM, out next week, I look at aspects of the IP Commission report which is long on vision but short on how IP crimes originate and what can be done to stem their tide at home. (The IAM Blog had strong reservations about the report, suggesting in a post that it confused IP theft with a lack of strategy.)   

Co-Chaired by Gov. Jon Huntsman (Utah, former Ambassador to China) and Hon. Dennis Blair (Admiral, US Navy, retired; former Director of National Intelligence), the IP Commission concludes that U.S. IP, including content, branded goods and inventions, are under siege by foreign businesses and governments, and dramatic measures need to1-7f58ea3fa3 be implemented now or halt the loss of valuable ground in the innovation battle.

In late May the IP Commission released its findings, which include losses of hundreds of billions of dollars per year in revenue and millions of jobs, as well as a drag on US GDP growth and innovation incentive.

The report states that international IP theft is not just a problem in China, where it is rampant, but Russia, India, and other countries constitute important actors in this worldwide challenge as well. Many issues are the same: poor legal environments for IPR, protectionist industrial policies, and a sense that IP theft is justified by a playing field that benefits developed countries.


IP theft is not only a problem emanating from foreign businesses and governments, like China. It is domestic threat that the courts and the patent system seem ill-equipped to address.

Let’s hope that the U.S. can rise to the challenge and recognize that systematic IP theft is an economic catastrophe in the making, and that it needs to be taken as seriously whether it originates abroad or at home.

Illustration source: http://www.ipcommission.org

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