Category

Innovation

California’s Manufacturers Deserve Strong IP Protections

By | Innovation, intellectual property, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

From cutting-edge advances in information technology, energy-efficiency and lifesaving medical devices and medicines, California’s manufacturers are global leaders in innovation.

At the forefront of innovation is research and development (R&D). The manufacturing industry in California spent $81.7 billion on R&D in 2012—ranking it first nationally. From years of R&D stems manufacturers’ trade secrets and proprietary intellectual property (IP), which is the lifeblood of the industry and the key to creating new consumer goods and generating more effective and efficient technologies. Therefore, there is nothing more critical to California’s manufacturers than the guarantee that their IP will be protected.

Unfortunately, recently introduced legislation would require manufacturers in the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and biotech-related industries to disclose proprietary operational information and data. The bill’s sponsors likely had the best intentions in mind, as it is important that we work to reduce our nation’s health care costs and access. However, this legislation would have the opposite effect. Mandating manufacturers of medical devices and medicines to turn over sensitive data, such as the cost of R&D, would have no impact on controlling costs, but would severely hamper their ability to compete.

The legislation singles out one industry, but devalues the work of all innovators and would send a chilling effect across the manufacturing industry. R&D is risky and expensive, but the rewards are tremendous and should not be desensitized. In California alone, total output from manufacturing was $255.53 billion in 2014, employing 1,271,000 Californians. Manufacturers are the lead drivers of innovation, creating economic growth and jobs. Legislators in California must understand how critical strong IP protections are to protecting the industry and the state’s economy.

NAM Member ABB Highlights Role of Internet of Things in Manufacturing

By | Innovation, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Technology | No Comments

Digital technology is changing the landscape of how the world makes things. More and more often, terms like “advanced manufacturing” and “smart” work are being used to describe the latest era in our sector. But what does “advanced manufacturing” mean? What affect is it having on the supply chain? On jobs? On our laws? Greg Scheu, executive committee member of ABB Group and president of ABB Americas Region, joined lawmakers, administration officials and technology experts in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss those questions.

The goal of advanced manufacturing, according to Scheu, is using technology to provide a competitive advantage—helping grow their business, service their customers and compete globally. Connected products and processes—or the Internet of Things—are helping manufacturers become more efficient in their processes and develop a broader, more customizable array of products to offer.  Read More

Minnesota “Transparency” Legislation Threatens Manufacturers’ Competitiveness

By | Innovation, intellectual property, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Protection of trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property are a fundamental necessity for manufacturers to succeed in today’s intensely competitive global marketplace. No industry should be forced to turn over to the government highly sensitive, proprietary information that tears down longstanding intellectual property protections and weakens their ability to innovate and grow their businesses.

Yet, there are proposals currently in the Minnesota state legislature that would require manufacturers in the pharmaceutical industry to disclose historically protected confidential information about their businesses, such as research and development costs, pricing strategies and production and marketing expenses. This information lies at the very heart of the operational strategy of any business in any industry and is a critical component for success, and the unintended consequences of transparency legislation would put Minnesota manufacturers at a serious disadvantage, undercutting their ability to innovate and compete. Read More

Sherrill Visits Detroit, Calls for Policies That Help Drive Manufacturing Innovation

By | Innovation, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Technology | No Comments

Technology is revolutionizing manufacturing—the Internet of Things, Big Data and the cloud. All of these innovative tools are changing what we make and how we make it. That was a topic of discussion at “Manufacturing in America,” an event hosted by Siemens and Electro-Matic Products this week at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. In his remarks Wednesday morning, Tenneco Inc. Chairman and CEO and NAM Board Chair Gregg Sherrill delved into the many ways technology is not only empowering manufacturers, transforming our products and changing lives but also creating new policy challenges. Lawmakers must approach these challenges with care or risk stunting this growth opportunity for manufacturers in the United States.

Products and processes connected online, also known as the Internet of Things, facilitate the seamless integration of supply chains, drive increased global collaboration and connect design with production. The data generated allow manufacturers to get real-time feedback to better serve their customers and deliver higher quality and safer products. The cloud is securely moving information at light speed across borders. Read More

“Transparency” Proposals Would Stifle Innovation

By | Innovation, intellectual property, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Recent proposals that would require manufacturers in the pharmaceutical industry to disclose sensitive and proprietary business information, such as pricing on specific products, marketing costs, planned research investments, anticipated profits and manufacturing production costs, would set a dangerous precedent that will deliver chilling impacts to our global competitiveness and further dampen prospects for more robust economic growth.

President Obama introduced the idea in his 2017 budget proposal, and the issue is occasionally amplified in the Halls of Congress and on the campaign trail.

Such a move would certainly be sweeping and dramatic, directly impacting the innovators who are leading research and developmentpharmaceutical, bio-pharmaceutical, bio-tech and related industries. Even thought these proposalssome at the state and others at the federal leveltarget one sector, manufacturers across all sectors don’t like the idea of hampering innovation. Read More

Senate “Internet of Things” Legislation Makes Manufacturers a Partner in Innovation Policy

By | Innovation, Shopfloor Policy, Technology | No Comments

Yesterday, four senators rolled out a bipartisan bill that, if passed, would form an Internet of Things (IoT) working group at the Department of Commerce. The legislation, the Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act was introduced by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Brian Schatz (D-HI). The bill would require Commerce to create a working group that would give Congress recommendations on how best to encourage IoT growth.  Read More

CES: A Crossroad Between Policy and Innovation

By | Innovation, Shopfloor Policy, Technology | No Comments

The 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is not just the largest technology convention in the United States; it’s the largest convention in the United States period. According to International CES, which is owned and produced by NAM member Consumer Technology Association (CTA), more than 3,600 companies will exhibit and launch in the ballpark of 20,000 products this week from the show.  Read More

Building Partnerships in Innovation

By | Innovation, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Technology | No Comments

picThe Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming manufacturing—from connecting machines on the shop floor to the end-use products. This concept of interconnectedness has enabled owners and operators in our sector to gather critical data that allows them to improve product design, troubleshoot in real-time and make manufacturing an even more integral partners with their customers throughout the lifecycle of their product. Today’s manufacturers continue to find ways to embed the latest technologies into their products and processes. With an eye toward the future, NAM member Caterpillar—a 90-year-old company—has begun to seek partnerships with technology startups to help better understand and take advantage of ideas coming out of the gate.
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Courts Hear Arguments on Net Neutrality Case

By | Briefly Legal, Innovation, Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, Shopfloor Legal, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Today in the D.C. Circuit, three judges heard arguments in United States Telecom Ass’n. v. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which involves the FCC’s Open Internet Order also known as the net neutrality rules. The arguments were held in the Court’s sixth floor ceremonial courtroom, but because of the overwhelming interest in a case that could shape the future of the Internet economy, a second overflow courtroom was made available to accommodate all the participants.

The rules are broadly written and provide vague, catch-all authority to the FCC, which increases policy risk for broadband companies through FCC exercise of enforcement discretion.  This regulatory uncertainty is why Congress needs to step in with legislation and create certainty.  A decision is expected from the Court in early 2016. Read More