Weakening Intellectual Property Protections Has Grave Consequences

Manufacturers in the United States perform more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector. If you aren’t on the cutting edge of innovation, then you aren’t competitive in the United States and definitely not in the global marketplace. For manufacturers in Colorado and across the United States, their intellectual property and trade secrets are the keys to maintaining innovation and success.

Innovation has long been the hallmark of U.S. economic growth, yet it is also very risky and expensive.  Without stringent protections in place to protect a manufacturer’s proprietary business information, the effort wouldn’t be worth the reward. Unfortunately, Colorado and a handful of other states are considering misguided legislation that would target some manufacturers to disclose that confidential information. The legislation is disguised as an attempt to increase transparency but instead is a government intervention designed to initiate an unprecedented view of some manufacturers’ proprietary operations. 

In Colorado, the legislation is targeted at pharmaceutical manufacturers, the industry that relies on the protection of intellectual property the most. In fact, pharmaceuticals account for nearly one-third of all manufacturing R&D, spending $74.9 billion in 2014—followed by aerospace, chemicals, computers, electronics and motor vehicles and parts.

Make no mistake, intrusions like those now singling out the biopharmaceutical industry are a material threat to all industries. The manufacturing industry in Colorado is strong, accounting for $21.74 billion in output in 2014 and employing more than 104,100 people. However, without strong intellectual property protections in place, those numbers would quickly plummet. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) will not sit on the sidelines and watch a segment of manufacturers be singled out and let a precedent be set that harms the competitiveness of manufacturers.

Research-based developers and manufacturers of lifesaving medicines should never be forced to endure a government expropriation of their innovation. All manufacturers must stand as one against such threats. Innovation is the lifeblood of manufacturing, and we must all stand together to ensure the protection of intellectual property and proprietary information to support the long-term success of manufacturing.

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