About the Author: Robert D. Hormats serves as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs.
As the U.S. continues to innovate and create jobs in knowledge-based industries -- from healthcare to movies -- it's clear that the protection of intellectual property is becoming increasingly important.
In fact, protecting intellectual property is critical to ensuring the competitiveness of some of our most inventive sectors. American workers, businesses, researchers and entrepreneurs must be able to reap the returns of their creative work. That means we have to ensure that intellectual property is protected in foreign markets and that international standards allow our technologies and creative industries to compete everywhere. Doing so is one of my top priorities.
Over the past several weeks, I have met with representatives of numerous internet and technology companies, the entertainment industry -- including unions representing creative industry workers -- agribusiness, pharmaceutical companies and others in the private sector. All mentioned the importance of intellectual property protection.
Each time I address an audience about this issue, I am asked how the State Department can help. We have a long history of working with foreign governments on intellectual property rights and advocating for U.S. interests. Through a partnership between the Bureaus for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs and International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, we leverage $4 million in crime funds annually to organize government-to-government training programs for judges, prosecutors, and customs and border officials in key countries of concern. Our posts in these countries also conduct educational and outreach programs to build broader public awareness about the importance of IPR and support host government enforcement efforts. For more information on U.S. government IPR training activities, visit www.IPR.gov.
I am also working very closely with the Administration's new Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel. Ms. Espinel will be issuing a new IPR Enforcement coordination strategy in the next few months, and we look forward to continued collaboration with her office, and other U.S. agencies, to promote and protect U.S. IPR interests overseas.
I look forward to sharing with you in the future more about the State Department's efforts to help promote innovation and protect and enforce intellectual property rights.