Better intellectual property protection overseas could create a half million U.S. jobs. That's the claim of two groups representing the small business and entrepreneurial sector who said in a letter sent to the President this week that the administration needs to aggressively address widespread piracy and intellectual property (IP) theft before it undercuts President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which is aimed at helping small- to mid-size firms go global.
“While your administration is doing its part in providing technical assistance and services to small businesses to help them go global, rampant IP theft remains a key concern that has the potential to undermine your goal of doubling exports over the next five years, and creating two million new jobs through this activity,” wrote Karen Kerrigan, CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) and Morgan Reed, executive director of the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT).
Many small- to mid-sized businesses are held back from pursuing opportunities in global markets because of their fear of IP theft , said Kerrigan and Reed. The problem has worsened during the economic downturn as massive IP theft of U.S. products and software exacerbates existing challenges in accessing capital and credit, devoting adequate resources to research and development and fighting infringement while trying to grow and innovate in a competitive environment.
The Business Software Alliance said in a new report on the impact of piracy in its industry that “reducing the piracy rate for PC software by 10 percentage points in four years would create $142 billion in new economic activity — more than 80 percent accruing to local industries — while adding nearly 500,000 new high-tech jobs and generating roughly $32 billion in new tax revenues.”
Reed and Kerrigan urged the President to place a priority on IP enforcement at home and abroad and find effective educational and legal strategies to fight IP theft and reduce piracy.
“We strongly believe that if the U.S. commits the time, resources and leadership on this critical issue our nation’s small business owners and workers can lead us back to strong levels of economic growth, and we can help you meet the exports and jobs goals that you have established through the NEI,” Kerrigan and Reed wrote.