Great Products Come From Strong Patents

Every great technology product you rely on every day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your streaming music service and in-car navigation system, shares one important thing: some of their innovative design is protected by proprietary laws. intellectual (IP).

From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection provides a powerful incentive for researchers to create innovative products, and government leaders say protecting it is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote the Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: “Intellectual property protection is vital to American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Patents are the primary means of protecting intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets offer additional intellectual property protection) and represent a guarantee of the rule of law similar to the role of a deed in protecting property. The ownership of land. The Founding Fathers of the United States included patent protection in the Constitution to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts.” Abraham Lincoln revered patents for adding “the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.”

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In today’s knowledge-based economy, intellectual property rights play a critical role. “Core R&D is the first step in putting great products in people’s hands,” said John Smee, senior vice president of engineering and global head of wireless research at Qualcomm.Everything from smartphones to the Internet of Things, automotive and industrial innovation starts as a breakthrough inside our research labs.” At Qualcomm, Smee said, strong intellectual property laws help the company confidently conduct cutting-edge 5G and 6G wireless research that will make its way into products ranging from everyday consumer goods to the factory floor.

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Semiconductor companies, in particular, fiercely protect their intellectual property because it is their main competitive advantage. Chip companies go to great lengths to protect their intellectual property by maintaining black boxes that are only accessible by one person per factory, choosing highly secure operating locations, and keeping R&D teams separate from factory operations teams. .

On the legal side, the United States Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984 provides legal protection for chip topography and intellectual property design, while the European Union Semiconductor Products Topography Legal Protection of 1986 protects the integrated circuit design. These regulations “have encouraged companies to continue to innovate,” according to the Qualcomm and Accenture report’s findings, Harnessing the power of the semiconductor value chainHaving a high-quality patent portfolio also helps companies develop their ecosystem, should they decide to license, through advice, training, launch support, assistance expanding into new markets, and much more.

Licensing democratizes innovation and invention: it makes cutting-edge IP developed by one company accessible to a wide range of others. As such, it allows other companies to skip the R&D step and jump straight to building on the innovator’s foundation. This lowers the barrier to entry for start-ups while providing a consistent return on investment for companies that have the resources to engage in intense R&D.

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A huge economic impact

IP protection also has a huge impact on the US economy and helps create good, better paying jobs. A report from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) found that in 2019, industries that heavily use intellectual property protection account for more than 41% of US gross domestic product (or about $7.8 trillion) and employ one-third of the population. total labor force, that is, 47.2 million jobs. In 2019, the median weekly earnings of $1,517 for workers in all IP-intensive industries were 60% higher than the weekly earnings of workers in other industries.

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Workers in intellectual property-intensive industries were more likely to earn higher wages and to participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans and health insurance, the USPTO report found.

But patent laws are often the subject of much debate: one person’s idea of ​​protection is another’s view of monopoly. That’s where organizations like Leadership come to play. The group brings together IP and innovation experts to discuss issues at the intersection of research, policy and industry.

In addition, various efforts are being made to help inventors bring their ideas to market. Inventors Patent Academy (TIPA), for example, is an online learning platform intended to guide inventors through the benefits of patenting and the process of obtaining a patent. TIPA has designed its program to make patents more accessible and understandable to groups historically underrepresented in the patent-heavy fields of science and engineering, including women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQIA, low-income communities and people with disabilities.

Closing these gaps would promote job creation, entrepreneurship, economic growth, and world leadership in innovation in the United States. Estimates suggest that increasing the share of underrepresented groups in inventions and patents would quadruple the number of American inventors and increase annual US gross domestic product. at nearly $1 billion.

If we want our nation’s rich history of innovation to continue, experts say, we must create an ecosystem of intellectual property protection that helps ensure technological innovation thrives.

“With patent protection,” Smee said, “there is no limit to where our creativity can take us.”