CREATe Briefing: Victoria Espinel Discusses IP Protection

June 26, 2012
Categories: Intellectual Property

This morning, CREATe was pleased to partner with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to host a breakfast discussion featuring Victoria Espinel, the country’s first U.S. Intellectual Property (IP) Enforcement Coordinator.

Espinel was in the Pacific Northwest for a ‘listening tour’ to meet with stakeholders to hear views and opinions on Intellectual Property issues that can inform White House policy.  In the session, she shared several insights into the work being undertaken by the Obama Administration on the issue of Intellectual Property protection.

First, she emphasized the primary reason why Intellectual Property protection is an important issue for the Administration – IP is a major economic driver.  To understand the full extent of the benefits of IP-intensive industries, one of the first projects Espinel and her team tackled was the research and development of a report titled Intellectual Property and the US Economy.   Highlights include:

  • IP-intensive industries create 27.1 million jobs and indirectly support another 12.9 million jobs; and nearly 30 percent of all U.S. jobs are directly or indirectly attributable to the IP-intensive industries.
  • The average weekly wage in the IP-intensive industries overall is 42% higher, and is 73% higher for patent industry jobs and 77% for copyright industry jobs.
  • Goods from the IP-intensive industries account for 60% of all US exports. In 2010 alone, IP-intensive industries accounted for about $5.06 trillion in value added, or 34.8 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.

Next, Espinel touched on a few key areas of focus. These include:

  • Increase in law enforcement. Espinel’s team is working with Federal agencies to increase their ability to respond to the increased need to address IP theft.  She shared several milestones, including:
    • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) increased seizures of counterfeit pharmaceuticals by nearly 600%.
    • ICE Homeland Security Investigations has been able to scale with a 66 percent increase in investigations, 116 percent increase in arrests and 206 percent increase in indictments.
  • Industry initiatives – voluntary agreements and best practices. Over the past two years, the Administration has facilitated a range of voluntary industry agreements designed to improve IP protection and also align with the Administration’s commitment to broader Internet principles of due process, free speech and privacy. Today, there are voluntary agreements and/or best practices in place to combat illegal Internet pharmacies and sites selling counterfeit and pirated goods; and also commitments to reducing online piracy and infringement. She also emphasized the importance of organizations including for helping multinationals implement best practices and build compliance among suppliers and business networks.
  • Consumer education. Espinel touched briefly on campaigns designed to educate consumers on the health and safety risks of online pharmaceuticals; and also mentioned the government’s most high profile initiative, the ‘McGruff’ campaigns focused on crime and also IP piracy.
  • Overseas partners. She emphasized how the Administration is working to weave the IP protection message into a broad range of meetings with overseas partner countries.

Espinel finished by sharing that the Administration is starting the process to develop the new Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement for submission to the President and Congress.  Everyone is welcome to submit ideas for this plan.