Senator Thom Tillis was first elected to represent North Carolina in 2014 and is currently serving in his second term after being re-elected in 2020.
Senator Tillis is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Judiciary Committee, and Chairman of the re-instituted Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. As Chairman his vision is to tackle the major issues facing America’s IP system and conduct rigorous oversight of the agencies tasked with protecting our nation’s intellectual property system.
Before serving in the Senate, he was Speaker of the House in the North Carolina General Assembly where he played an instrumental role in enacting job-creating policies and reforming North Carolina’s tax and regulatory codes.
He lives with his wife Susan in Huntersville, North Carolina, and they are the proud parents of two grown children and grandparents to two grand-daughters.
Dear Ambassador Tai: I write you again today for the fourth time about the Biden Administration’s waiver of international obligations under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS agreement. Last week, several open-content organizations wrote to President Biden and argued that your proposed TRIPS Waiver should cover not just patents, but also copyright and other intellectual property rights. These organizations ask that you include copyright simply because it may apply to software, medicine labels, manuals, or “tools” associated with vaccines. The letter fails to address the importance of these protections to the economy, trade, and employment, the limitations placed on protections to ensure a balanced system, and how copyright protection facilitates the very innovation, creativity, and knowledge sharing that will make it possible for us to end this once in a lifetime pandemic. The inclusion of copyright is both unsubstantiated and unwarranted, and would impose devastating consequences on American creators, businesses and workers, while doing nothing to advance the objective of combatting COVID.
On Monday,, March 2, an Amici Curiae Brief in Support of the Petition by American Axle was filed by Senator Thom Tillis, Honorable Paul Michel and Honorable David Kappos. The three amici conclude that they are “all convinced that section 101 is gravely damaging our country’s ability to succeed in the race for global innovation leadership, and all convinced that the solution to the dilemma lies with the Court taking up the American Axle case.”
Every single day, millions of Americans enjoy the benefits of a robust copyright system that has been responsibly guided and carefully enacted by the U.S. Congress over the past two centuries. Indeed, only just recently, Congress updated the incredibly complex music provisions of the law, and we continue to have hearings on issues that show the deep regard of this Nation when it comes to incentivizing music, movies, books and art—works that speak to our values and progress as a Nation. By its very design, the copyright law encourages artists big and small, ultimately fueling the public domain for ages to come. And copyright is an economic powerhouse. According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) 2018 report Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy, copyright intensive industries contribute $1.3 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product, representing almost 7% of the entire economy. These industries also employ close to 5.7 million American workers with an annual average salary of almost $100,000. In a word, copyright is essential—both to American public life and the broader American innovation economy. Unfortunately, Congress has fallen behind in one crucial aspect of the copyright system: ensuring that the American people have a nimble, state-of-the-art, and efficient Copyright Office at their service.