Fact Check: The ITC’s Import Process and Bans Help Protect U.S. Innovators

Claim: Representatives David Schweikert (AZ-01) and Don Beyer (VA-08) introduced the “Advancing America’s Interests Act,” which claims that the International Trade Commission’s (ITC) import process and bans are “unfair” and do not prioritize the public interest.

Correction: Supporters of the Advancing America’s Interests Act claim the bill will benefit Americans, but a closer examination reveals the opposite. It would undermine the ability of the International Trade Commission (ITC) to safeguard intellectual property rights for companies, including small American innovators who support their research and development by licensing their patents.

The ITC currently holds the authority to block the importation of products that infringe upon the IP rights of others. This power acts as a vital deterrent against imported products that profit from stolen U.S. intellectual property. Reps. Schweikert and Beyer’s bill would deny this critical protection to small innovators and others who license their patents, thereby diminishing the ITC’s effectiveness and risking a surge in IP theft.

When large corporations are allowed to willingly infringe the IP of small U.S. innovators without consequences, the entire innovation ecosystem is put in jeopardy. It undermines the trust of venture capitalists, who play a pivotal role in funding and supporting new ideas and startups. The decline in venture capital investment, currently spanning multiple quarters and amounting to nearly $100 billion less in Q1 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, is a worrisome trend that could worsen if IP theft remains unchecked.

Stolen IP exacts a staggering cost on the United States, at least between $225 billion and $600 billion annually, and this likely does not account for most patent infringement. The reality of foreign governments, particularly the Chinese Communist Party, stealing IP and sensitive information significantly contributed to Congress establishing a select committee to investigate this matter. The potential for IP theft not only poses economic risks but also disincentivizes investments in new breakthroughs. It is inexplicable that some lawmakers fail to recognize the urgency of addressing this theft and, in fact, act to aid the theft of American IP by foreign entities.

To ensure a fair and prosperous American innovative ecosystem, it is imperative that all innovators — including small inventors and those who license their patents — are able to sue at the ITC to block patent-infringing imports.

Bottom Line: This claim is false.

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