“We stand on the shoulders of American inventors [who] since the founding of this nation built upon each other and upon the system that was laid out in our Constitution to create the greatest advancements human history has ever known.”
On February 7, the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce held its 2019 U.S. Chamber International IP Index Reception to announce the findings of this year’s International IP Index, which saw the United States patent system shoot from twelfth place last year to second place this year. Following are remarks delivered by United States Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu at the event, after being introduced by GIPC President and CEO, David Hirschmann. This month marks one year since Director Iancu was sworn into office, so he began his comments by joking that the IP Index made quite a nice anniversary present.
Thank you, David, it’s so good to see all of you here. You did give us—give me—an anniversary present. The number two ranking is pretty good on the patent front. Especially since last year we were slightly lower than that; so this has been great. You have done a tremendous job at the GIPC in general, and in particular with respect to this study that you put out every year—I think this is your seventh year.
And the fact of the matter is just by doing the study and publishing it, it does so many important things for intellectual property. First and foremost, it highlights the importance of IP and IP protections and IP systems to economies around the world and the benefits that strong IP rights and reliable IP rights brings to any country’s economy. And you do highlight that in this report in particular. And it also focuses the mind on the most important aspects of IP, and what it takes to do better and have better systems when it comes to IP. So, I very much appreciate all the work that you have done and that you keep doing it.
I don’t have any formal remarks, I do just want to say a couple of words.
We’re very proud of what we do at the PTO and we’re very proud that the United States is ranked in this study as number one overall when it comes to intellectual property, and at the top of the rankings of all the subsections in the report, and in large portion due to the work that the IP community does day in and day out. But frankly, we really stand on the shoulders of giants.
Obviously, first and foremost, our founding fathers that created the most important invention of all inventions—and that is the United States Constitution. That sets out our way of life with the protections of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and property. And it expressly sets out a framework for protecting intellectual property. That was an amazing, turning moment in human history.
And obviously we stand on the shoulders of all of the inventors; in particular, American inventors since the founding of this nation that built upon each other and upon the system that was laid out in our Constitution to create the greatest advancements human history has ever known. Like I have said many times, with American patents, humans for the very first time figured out how to fly. With American patents, humans, for the very first time in the thousands of years we’ve been on this planet, made light, made instantaneous communications with tiny devices in our pockets—most of you are checking them out now [audience laughter]. With American patents, humans are treating all sorts of diseases that until now have not been treated, including cancer and the like. And so, it is an amazing system—legal, technical, scientific—that we all have the benefit of participating in.
But what’s most important is, irrespective of all the amazing progress that has been made in the past few hundred years, we have seen nothing yet. I am absolutely certain that we stand, right now, on the cusp of unprecedented scientific and technological advances. When we talk about artificial intelligence machine learning, Internet of Things, biotechnology, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, on and on. The progress of science and technology, and the speed of it and the international scope of it is mind blowing. And we are all here in this room, and our companies and our governments are in the middle of it, and that is a tremendous privilege—and at the same time an awesome responsibility.
We take that responsibility at the USPTO extremely seriously. We focus day in and day out on enabling our inventors and our entrepreneurs, who in turn embody the American character and the American dream and create the engine that drives this economy and the United States in general, and obviously well beyond the United States, drives development throughout the world.
So, I am very privileged. I feel privileged for being in the middle of this whole thing and spending time with you and working with all of you to improve and maintain American leadership in the world. And even though we climbed all the way up to number two this year, we look forward to further progress in the years to come. So, thank you all, great to see you and enjoy your evening.
Photo credit: Jay Premack/USPTO