December 17, 2017

World Intellectual Property Day – Why It Matters

Last week, April 26, marked World Intellectual Property Day. The US Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center celebrated by releasing a new “IP 101” education tool-kit. The kit includes an educational white paper so even first-time readers can familiarize themselves with Intellectual Property issues, IP infographics and multiple third party voices of support for IP .

So often, Americans take for granted how IP touches nearly every aspect of our daily lives. I wanted to highlight World IP Day as an opportunity to articulate the importance of Intellectual Property to our overall economy.

It’s easy for consumers to think of IP in the abstract. Pirated software overseas or copyright infringement is only a problem for the biggest of mega corporations. Unfortunately, for small business owners in America – the largest engines of job creation – that’s not the case. If you or someone you know owns or operates a small business, take a minute and think about how their livelihoods are impacted by issues surrounding Intellectual Property.

In recognition ofGlobal IP Day, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council published the “Top 10 Reasons Intellectual Property Rights Matter to Small Business.”

10. Small Businesses Are Robust Innovators.

9. Small Business Tend To Be At the Cutting Edge of Innovation.

8. The Self-Employed Represent a Big Chunk of U.S. Copyright Businesses.

7. Key Copyright Industries Are Overwhelmingly About Small Businesses.

6. Strong Intellectual Property Rights Are Positive for Self-Employment Globally.

5. Patent Systems Are Particularly Important for Small Businesses.

4. IP Theft Is Economically and Individually Destructive.

3. The Evidence Overwhelmingly Shows That Innovation is a Key Driver of Economic Growth.

2. Economic History Confirms That Intellectual Property Protections Matter for Innovators and Development.

1. Ultimately, Intellectual Property Rights Incentivize Innovators to Innovate.

For example, on item #7, the analysis in part notes, “Based on Census Bureau data (2009 most recent), these core copyright industries are dominated by small firms: a) 83% of newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers had fewer than 20 employees; b) 70% of software publishers had less than 20 workers; c) 93% of firms in the motion picture and sound recording industries had less than 20employees; and d) 76% of firms in the radio and television broadcasting business had less than 20 workers.”

SBE Council chiefeconomist Raymond J. Keating noted, “Celebrating intellectual property means celebrating entrepreneurs and small businesses, who are the innovators in the economy. Make no mistake, intellectual property rights and protections matter most to the entrepreneurial sector, given the big role small firms play in innovation and IP industries, how IP rights spur self-employment, the importance of patent protections for smaller firms, and the overall importance of IP to economic growth.”

For more information on this post, please visit the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, and to find out more about the fight to protect Intellectual Property, please visit the US Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center.

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