Propelling our economy forward

The creativity of the American people is boundless. The innovative products and services created here in America, from lifesaving medical devices to smartphone apps, from clean energy cars to Hollywood movies, create millions of jobs and propel our economy forward.

Intellectual property is one of our most valuable national treasures. Effective enforcement of intellectual property enables us to promote economic growth, ensure our global competitiveness and protect the health and safety of our citizens. So we must adopt an approach to enforcement that is thoughtful, dedicated and effective, that makes good and efficient use of our resources and that contributes to ever-stronger economic prosperity.

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The administration has made the enforcement of intellectual property rights a priority, and we have made significant progress over the last four years. We intend to build on this successful work in the second term. 

On June 20, the administration released its 2013 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, which provides a roadmap for intellectual property enforcement over the next three years. 

One area of particular concern is theft of trade secrets — engineering designs, plans, chemical formulas and advanced manufacturing techniques. When American trade secrets are stolen by foreign competitors, it unfairly undermines our country’s competitive edge, threatens jobs and financially rewards criminals. It reduces incentives to finance new innovative products, which ultimately weakens future economic growth.

In February 2013, we issued the Administration Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets. The strategy calls for focused diplomatic efforts, increased use of trade tools, voluntary sharing of private-sector best practices to protect trade secrets, enhanced domestic law enforcement operations, improved domestic legislation and increased public awareness and stakeholder outreach.

This week, the Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the United States and the People’s Republic of China provides an opportunity to make concrete progress in creating an environment that promotes economic growth and prosperity. We know that the innovation that will drive an expanding world economy is contingent on the protection of the intellectual property, including trade secrets, that our innovators generate. Therefore, we must create an environment that respects and supports the hard work of innovators.

As the U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator, I look forward to working with Congress, all of our stakeholders and the public as we implement the administration’s strategy for enforcement of intellectual property. And I am confident that American innovators will continue to create jobs, promote economic growth and ensure our economic competitiveness and security for years to come.

Espinel is the U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator.