Deputy Chief of Mission Daniel Lawton’s Remarks at 2022 IP Statistics for Decision Makers Conference

14 June 2022

Warsaw Stock Exchange


Dzień Dobry! Good morning!  I am honored to be here today with such an esteemed group of people: policy and IP experts, academics, representatives from the private sector, economists, and scientists.

Intellectual property is the lifeblood of modern economies, fostering innovation and development, advancing economic growth, and improving citizens’ welfare.

Groundbreaking technological and scientific advances such as the invention of the microchip, and a little global system known as the Internet have produced unprecedented improvements in the health, economic well-being, and overall quality of life for people worldwide.  Intellectual property protection has been vital to achieve these advances by incentivizing and rewarding innovation.

Intellectual property continues to be a massive economic driver for creating jobs, opening new markets, and promoting investment in innovation and development.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office estimates that, in the United States alone, IP-intensive industries support at least 47 million jobs and contribute 7.8 trillion dollars to U.S. gross domestic product annually – that’s 41 percent of our total GDP.  Employees working in IP-intensive industries are more likely to earn higher wages compared to non-IP-intensive industries.  Therefore, IP protection is not just good for businesses, but is also good for workers.

The United States is proud of its role in the development of IP rights and advocates for the effective protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights both domestically and internationally.

A strong system of IP rights assures inventors, industrial designers, and creative artists that their ideas will be protected.  This, in turn, promotes knowledge-sharing and stimulates more innovation and novel ideas.  IP protection gives entrepreneurs and creators reassurance that they will not lose out in the marketplace to copycats and counterfeiters who can steal their inventions and deprive them of profits.

IP protection has long been a core value of the United States; it’s part of our nation’s storied history from the very beginning.

America’s Founding Fathers were early proponents of innovation.  They ensured that strong IP rights for authors and inventors are protected in the U.S. Constitution.  Article I, Section 8 grants Congress the power “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

In his first State of the Union address in 1790, President George Washington discussed the importance of patents and three months later he signed the Patent Act of 1790 into law.

Throughout his presidency, Washington signed more than 150 patents. This helped sustain our nation’s economic independence.  It got us on the right track.

And nearly a century later President Abraham Lincoln was another strong supporter of the patent system, saying it “added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.”  He spoke from experience.

Not many people know this, but President Lincoln was an innovator himself.  He patented a flotation system for lifting riverboats stuck on sandbars.  The patent was granted in 1849 and while his invention was never manufactured, he truly understood the value in protecting great ideas.

Thanks to these strong IP foundations, the United States became one of the most innovative countries in the world.

The Biden’s Administration is also a strong advocate for IP protection and enforcement around the globe.  Right after taking office, President Biden announced his commitment to intellectual property, because he believes that strong intellectual property laws can bolster American industrial strength, promote innovation, and protect the growth of small businesses.

They serve the same purpose in countries around the world.

SMEs are the backbone of national economies and pillars of local communities.  They deliver goods and services and hatch breakthrough innovations, but even more important – they create jobs.  Since this is a conference about the use of statistics in IP, let me share a few of my favorite statistics with you:

  • In the United States, over 30 million SMEs account for two-thirds of new jobs created in recent decades. Two-thirds!
  • According to the World Bank, SMEs make up around 90 percent of the world’s businesses, employ around 50 percent of the global workforce and generate up to 40 percent of national income in many emerging economies. These are really significant numbers.
  • The World Bank also estimates that 600 million jobs will be needed by 2030 to absorb the growing global workforce. Therefore, for many governments around the world, protection and development of SMEs should be one of the highest priorities.

Strong IP rights play a critical role in building stronger, more competitive and resilient businesses, especially during times of crisis.

It has helped Ukraine to develop a reputation for being excellent coders and technology workers often recognized as a top choice in various international rankings.  This provides hope for rebuilding the country when Russia’s unjustifiable war ends.

And our response to the COVID pandemic has been driven by strong intellectual property protections that enabled innovation and research and development.

Supported by IP norms, many companies could develop new drugs, vaccines, and innovative tests for COVID-19.

Across much of the world, patented technologies have enabled people to work remotely from their homes.  Many of these gains would not be possible without 21st century patent protections for software and other intangible goods.

This ability to work in innovative fields remotely has allowed countries like Poland to develop strong technology sectors, including celebrated video games.

Strong IPR protections and the ability to work remotely may help end the problem of brain drain in Ukraine and other countries around the world.

I do not believe in panaceas: IPR will not solve all our economic problems, but inadequate protection will surely make them worse.

I commend you for your work and wish you a successful conference.