Ensuring TPP Doesn’t Derail Innovation

9/19/12

From e-commerce and the iPad to new medical devices and cutting edge manufacturing breakthroughs, American innovation has been on hyper drive over the last decade and has dynamically altered the ways in which we work and live in today’s modern economy. Yet, now there are questions as to whether the United States will continue to lead the world in innovation or allow other nations to reap the benefits that we have long been afforded in terms of jobs and economic growth, and key milestones to be addressed in the very near future may answer this question for us.

September 15th marked the conclusion of the 14th round of negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement—a multilateral free trade agreement between 11 countries that include some of the fastest growing economies in the Asia-Pacific region. Although negotiators made progress on a number of different fronts, one important issue was not addressed: the need for binding, strong intellectual property (IP) protections. If it is not given appropriate consideration, it could severely impact U.S. innovation; diminishing economic opportunities at home and our competiveness abroad. The next round of negotiations will take place in December in New Zealand.

Intangible assets such as IP comprise an ever-increasing proportion of an organization’s value. Accordingly, it is critical they protect future innovation by ensuring strong IP provisions as part of the TPP agreement. If they fail to do so, it will have long-lasting implications for a number of sectors, including the biopharmaceutical industry, at a time when mass economic uncertainty and regulatory challenges are threatening much-needed medical innovation and high-quality, high-wage jobs here at home.

The final TPP language, if constructed in the right way, would help usher in a new era of American-innovation-fueled economic growth and domestic job opportunities, as well as serving as a catalyst to fight and cure today’s most challenging diseases on behalf of patients across the globe. Failure to achieve this objective could have the opposite effect. Whether or not we are able to facilitate increased innovation to expedite the former largely depends on the scope of the IP provisions that are negotiated as part of the TPP.

Strong IP protections that are enforceable and reflect U.S. law must be in the final language of the agreement because they are vital for the U.S. to remain the world’s leader in innovation and new technologies. For the biopharmaceutical industry, in particular, a critical IP issue involves a newer and extremely promising class of drugs called biologics, complex medicines that are produced using living cells, nucleic acids and proteins. One of the … Next Page »

Chester “Chip” Davis, Jr. currently serves as Executive Vice President for Advocacy at PhRMA. 3 Follow @

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