Intellectual property rights are the heroes of America’s innovation story

By Frank Cullen

It’s no secret that the film industry looks different than it did when I worked in Hollywood decades ago. Gone are the days when eager movie-goers’ only option was to pile into theaters to watch the latest hit. Today, many Americans can enjoy watching films from the comfort of their own homes.

The way we watch movies has evolved thanks to innovations in the entertainment industry. But one thing remains the same. Without the intellectual property rights that help producers finance projects, push the boundaries of creativity, and pay their cast and crew, no cinematic masterpiece, Netflix original movie, or indie film would ever make it to viewers.

The same goes for products in nearly any industry in the United States today. Patents, trademarks, and other forms of IP underpin the development of groundbreaking technological innovations and lifesaving medications. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the music we listen to, and the cars we drive all have their roots in America’s world-leading intellectual property system.

That’s no accident. Intellectual property rights are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. The Framers understood that incentivizing innovation and allowing entrepreneurs and investors the exclusive right to reap the financial rewards of their creations would spur economic growth.

They couldn’t have been more right. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, IP-intensive industries account for 41% — about $7.8 trillion — of U.S. GDP. Roughly a third of all U.S. workers — more than 47 million people — are directly employed in IP-intensive industries.

Nevertheless, IP rights are facing an increasing number of attacks at home and abroad. That’s why we at the Council for Innovation Promotion are launching an ambitious campaign to fight back.

We’re educating consumers, workers, and policymakers from across the political spectrum about the importance of safeguarding IP. We’re working to maintain America’s dominance as the most innovative country on earth. And we’re supporting entrepreneurs whose inventions could one day solve some of the globe’s biggest problems, from climate change to future pandemics.

When we safeguard and value IP rights, workers and the economy win. That’s a feel-good story fit for the big screen.

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