Strong Intellectual Property Protections in the TPP Have Everything to Do with Good-Paying American Jobs

By March 10, 2015General

Ideas, brands and inventions are the competitive advantage of the more than 265,000 manufacturers large and small across the United States and the more than 12 million women and men they employ in today’s challenging global marketplace.

Protecting those assets at home and abroad is critical for every sector of manufacturing – and particularly for the biopharmaceutical industry, which contributes some $426 billion to the U.S. economy every year and delivers life-saving and life-changing new therapies for patients suffering from cancer, diabetes and other diseases and disorders.

That’s why I joined Global Colon Cancer Association Executive Director Andrew Spiegel, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) President Rob Atkinson and Former Ambassador Alan Wolff on a press call on Monday to talk about the vital importance of securing strong intellectual property protection and enforcement commitments in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement that the United States is negotiating with 11 Pacific Rim nations.

TPP negotiators are meeting in Hawaii this week to hammer out what could be final – or nearly final – rules on intellectual property rights and other key issues that are important to manufacturers, from concrete new market access to standards on investment and new rules on digital trade, data flows and fair competition with state-owned enterprises. Their decisions will have a profound impact on the global competitiveness of America’s manufacturers, including the thriving biopharmaceutical sector and the American workers they employ.

The major open issue on intellectual property is the period of protection for data developed in the long and costly process to bring new biologic medicines to market. As the ITIF pointed out in its new publication, “The Imperative of Protecting Life Sciences Innovation in the TPP,” biologic medicines are highly complex and challenging to manufacture. They present special considerations relative to other medicines that use traditional chemical active ingredients – both with respect to regulatory approval and effective intellectual property protection. Securing 12 years of clinical data protection – which is the standard in the United States – in the TPP is important not just to the life sciences industries, but to many across America like the Global Colon Cancer Association that are seeking the innovation that biologics research is producing to create new life-saving medicines.

For America’s workers, manufacturing jobs in general and jobs in IP-intensive industries in general pay higher than other jobs in the U.S. economy, as do jobs that are export-related. So in fact, a TPP with strong intellectual property protections, from patents and data protection to copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets, has everything to do with promoting good-paying American jobs.

Manufacturing and other industries are facing a tough global economy and need to ensure fair treatment, strong standards, and open markets if we are going to grow our industry and workforce here in the United States. A high-standard, market opening TPP agreement can provide major new opportunities for manufacturers and their workers throughout the United States if it is done right, including on the important issues of ensuring strong intellectual property protections for all manufacturing industries.

Linda Dempsey

Linda Dempsey

Linda Dempsey is the vice president of international economic affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). In this capacity, Ms. Dempsey leads the NAM’s efforts to improve the global competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States by advocating intellectual property protection, increased export financing and the elimination of trade barriers as well as pushing for agreements and treaties to open up new export markets to create jobs. Ms. Dempsey is noted for her experience on a wide range of international trade and investment policy issues.
Linda Dempsey

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