intellectual property

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

“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

U.S. Rejects Canada’s Claims to Self-Define IP Terms in Ongoing Dispute

By | intellectual property, Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, Shopfloor Legal, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey and NAM Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Patrick Forrest co-authored this blog post.

Manufacturers welcome the U.S. government’s strong rejection of Canada’s arguments in a pending investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). Like the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the U.S. government has made clear that Canada cannot self-define core intellectual property (IP) obligations in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In a filing to the NAFTA tribunal hearing the case, the United States also fully affirmed that patents are investments that are protected from expropriation, meaning that the governments cannot seize or invalidate them without fair compensation. IP rights are of high importance to manufacturers in the United States and the good-paying jobs manufacturing provides throughout the country. Read More

Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Must Be Protected at Home and Abroad

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

Today, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons continued the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour with stops in Philadelphia, Pa.

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons addresses business and community leaders at Glaxo KlineSmith while in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo Credit: David Bohrer, NAM

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons addresses business and community leaders at GlaxoSmithKline while in Philadelphia, Pa. Photo Credit: David Bohrer, NAM


Manufacturing plays a critical role in Pennsylvania, employing more than 569,000 workers and contributing nearly $80 billion to the state’s economy. Pennsylvania’s economy, like many manufacturing-intensive states, also relies heavily on foreign markets, exporting more than $36 billion in manufactured goods in 2014. Speaking at GlaxoSmithKline, Timmons shared his vision for how manufacturing in America can reach its full potential and highlighted how government policies can help or hinder those efforts. Read More

NAM Supports Senate Action on Cyber Bill

By | intellectual property, Technology | No Comments

Technology and the deployment of it across the shopfloors and throughout the products of the manufacturing industry has raised cybersecurity to a C-suite priority. Manufacturers know that strong cybersecurity means strong economic security. The NAM has therefore joined more than 45 other industry groups calling for passage of S. 754, the Cybersecurity Information Security Act (CISA) of 2015. Read More

Manufacturers Welcome Congress Back; Say Now Is Time To Govern

By | Economy, Energy, Health Care, Human Resources, Immigration, immigration reform, Infrastructure, Innovation, intellectual property, Regulations, Taxation, Technology, Trade, Transportation | No Comments

As Members of the 114th Congress descend on Washington for orientation, and the 113th Congress convenes for the upcoming lame duck session, manufacturers stand ready to work with our leaders to advance policies that will enable us to continue to grow and create jobs.   Manufacturers believe that now is the time to set aside the differences that have resulted in gridlock, and focus on the pro-growth policies that brought voters to the polls. Simply put, it is time to govern and grow. Read More

Lawmakers Push for Stronger Patent Protections from Customs and Border Protection

By | Energy, intellectual property | No Comments

Manufacturers know that intellectual property is the basis of America’s innovative economy, and protecting intellectual property (IP) rights assures manufacturers that their inventions will be secure as they build their companies and create jobs. Manufacturers face many challenges in protecting their IP, and they need allies in the federal government to help halt illicit imports that infringe on their rights.

Several Congressional leaders recently called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to more effectively protect U.S. patent holders from imports that infringe their patents, without disrupting legitimate trade. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch sent a recent letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to inquire about CBP’s resources and processes for enforcing  exclusion orders. Rep. Howard Coble, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property & the Internet, also sent a letter expressing his concerns about CBP’s process for enforcing exclusion orders. Rep. Coble called for DHS to conduct an independent review of CBP’s enforcement procedures and make recommendations that would improve fairness, transparency and efficacy.

Under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) is charged with investigating allegations of unfair import practices that involve patent infringement. If the ITC finds that a violation has occurred, it directs CBP to deny entry of the infringing product into the United States. Patent holders that prevail in these costly, technical and often contentious cases should expect robust enforcement from CBP. A survey conducted in FY2010 found that more than half of respondents believed infringing goods had been imported after ITC issued an exclusion order.

The NAM will continue working to ensure lawmakers pursue a manufacturing growth agenda that recognizes IP as the basis of an innovation economy and supports trade.

New GDP Revision Values Intellectual Property

By | Economy, intellectual property | No Comments

Numbers released today by the Commerce Department for the first time put an official value on the contribution of intellectual property (IP) to America’s economic growth, underscoring the need for strong IP protection and enforcement.

In its latest comprehensive revision to U.S. GDP, the Commerce Department announced changes to how the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will measure the size of the economy.

Specifically, BEA is adopting an expanded definition of business investment that includes spending on R&D and works of art like movies. These expenditures will form part of a new investment category called “intellectual property products.”

As BEA Director Steve Landefeld explained in a recent New York Times interview, “one of the longstanding gaps in the numbers has been the contributions of intangibles – creations in the arts and entertainment, research and development, things like that – and what they contribute to GDP.”

This change and others raised the value of U.S. GDP in the first quarter of 2013 by a whopping $551 billion, according to a statement by Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Alan Krueger.

The new measure better values innovation and creativity. It updates national accounting for today’s knowledge economy and validates the results of past studies demonstrating IP’s powerful impact on jobs and commerce.

If “what gets measured is what gets done,” the new numbers should put new muscle behind protecting and enforcing patents, trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property rights at home and abroad.

The NAM will continue working to that end through a manufacturing growth agenda that recognizes IP as the basis of America’s innovative economy.

Administration Releases IP Enforcement Strategy

By | intellectual property, Trade | No Comments

The cost of counterfeiting and piracy to jobs and the economy is staggering. According to the Commerce Department, innovative industries directly support more than 27 million jobs across the country. At a time when growth is still fragile, a recent report by the Commission on the Theft of Intellectual Property found that stolen ideas, brands and inventions drain more than $300 billion from the U.S. economy.

The scale and scope of global counterfeiting and piracy defies easy solutions. But when businesses and government work together effectively, they can achieve real results. That’s among the highlights of the Administration’s new Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement released late last week by U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel.

The Plan outlines actions companies and federal agencies have taken over the last three years to protect patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. For example, Customs and Homeland Security have increased seizures of infringing imports at the border by 53 percent. More than a dozen companies are working together voluntarily to combat the sale of fake medicines, movies, music and other infringing products on the Internet.


Congress is also taking action to raise the stakes for counterfeiters and pirates by increasing penalties for trafficking in infringing goods and services. It has expanded legal authority to seize and destroy fakes. It has clarified the protection of trade secrets related to “a product or service used in or intended for use in” interstate or foreign commerce, in line with the Administration’s overall push to combat the theft of trade secrets.


While these actions have produced results, manufacturers in the United States continue to face substantial challenges internationally. The Joint Strategic Plan outlines steps the Administration will take to build on these and other results, including strengthening intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement abroad through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, expanding international law enforcement cooperation and supporting small and medium-sized businesses in foreign markets.

These steps are consistent with the NAM’s Manufacturing Growth Strategy, which recognizes “IP as the basis of America’s innovative economy” and calls for “a coordinated policy that strengthens the protection of IP rights by both domestic laws and international agreements.”

Counterfeiting and piracy will continue to challenge the competitiveness of manufacturers in the United States. But by strengthening coordination and forging innovative partnerships, businesses and government are demonstrating what works. The NAM looks forward to advancing strong IP protections and enforcement for all products through these avenues, including the TPP and T-TIP negotiations where the United States should be seeking the strongest possible IP outcomes that will advance our global competitiveness.