Economic Competitiveness and the Defense of Intellectual Property

October 17, 2017
Washington, DC

Over the last few decades, we have seen America lose its global status as a manufacturing powerhouse. Millions of jobs have moved to China, Mexico, India and elsewhere, turning too many American communities into ghost towns. Harmful regulatory policies, high corporate taxes, and trade cheating have all contributed to this harmful trend.

Not only have we ceded ground to much of the world on manufacturing, but harmful policies and an increased hostility to our nation’s Intellectual Property foundations have undermined American leadership in innovation and technology. According to U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s International IP Index this year, the US has dropped from 1st to 10th place (tied with Hungary) in the protection of “patents, related rights and limitations.” This is the first year that the US had not been in first place in this annual index.

Patent protection was enshrined in our Constitution and has set us apart from the rest of the world in protecting property of all kinds. It is the main reason that the U.S. has led the world in innovation. But in recent years, a combination of bad legislation, troubling Supreme Court decisions, anti-patent rhetoric at all levels of our government have weakened the U.S. patent system-once the crown jewel of our economy.  Many inventors and venture capitalists are now beginning to look at Germany, England-and even China-as better environments to protect their innovations.

We cannot afford to lose our role as the world’s innovator. This is particularly true because IP-intensive industries accounted for 38% of our GDP in 2014.

President Reagan faced similar challenges after taking office. Then, America’s global economic leadership was threatened by Japan, so Reagan set up a high-level commission and advanced policies to bolster our industrial competitiveness. A blue-ribbon commission appointed by President Reagan found that “inadequate protection of intellectual property rights” was “among the reasons for [a] decline in the U.S. comparative advantage in high technology.”

In response, the administration took steps to strengthen our IP and patent protections, among other important steps. Partnered with pro-growth tax cuts and paring back needless regulation, the Reagan administration reversed much of the decline, and the U.S. continued its economic leadership in the high-tech space.

America now finds itself in a similar situation, and must once again act quickly to reverse the decline.  While America then faced the challenge of Japan threatening our economic and innovation leadership, today we are being challenged by China and South Korea, among others.

The conservative movement stands resolute in calling for the implementation of an agenda to reverse our decline in industrial and innovative competitiveness. That agenda includes:


  • Tax cuts and reforms. The U.S. has one of the highest corporate taxes in the world and a tax system that is complex and burdensome.  Cutting the corporate rate and simplifying the code will encourage more businesses to do business in the United States, allow the return of capital to the U.S., and spur economic growth.
  • Regulatory reform. Our economy has been burdened by over-regulation at every level, imposing costly mandates on businesses, consumers and entrepreneurs. The Trump administration has already begun to roll back many of these costly regulations, sending important signals to the markets and to entrepreneurs-and they must continue to do more. This is especially the case when it comes to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Since its creation in 2010, the CFPB has used its far reaching and unchecked regulatory powers to levy billions of dollars in penalties against businesses. This has created further economic uncertainty as consumers have become saddled with higher costs and fewer choices when it comes to accessing financial products and services.  Permanent regulatory rollback at the congressional level would bring even more certainty and confidence than executive orders (which can be reversed by future administrations).
  • Patent Protection. The administration, Congress, and the courts need to take steps to reverse the declining protection of patents and the anti-patent rhetoric that has infected government at all levels. The administration needs to staff key agencies with individuals who understand the important role of patents, and stop administrative action that make it easier to invalidate them.  The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), for instance, is an administrative tribunal created after previous congressional reform and has been labeled a “patent death squad” with the sole purpose of invalidating patents.  In addition, U.S. officials must stand strong against attempts by other nations to bolster their domestic companies by undermining the IP protection of U.S. companies. Congress needs to reject harmful legislation that would undermine patent rights and only push legislation that strengthens those rights. Finally, the courts must put an end to the hostile decisions that make it harder for innovators to protect their Constitutionally protected property rights.
  • Enforcing trade deals. While there are differing opinions on trade, we are united in the belief that the U.S. must stand up for the enforcement of existing trade agreements and ensure that we are not being taken advantage of. The administration must insist that our trading partners live up to the terms of our agreements and not undermine them through lack of due process, illegal subsidization, forced technology transfer, dumping, and other forms of cheating.
A pro-growth, pro-innovation, pro-enforcement and anti-regulatory agenda is critical to reversing many of the destructive policies of the last eight years (and in many cases longer). The leaders of our movement urge our elected and appointed officials follow the lead of President Reagan by taking strong action to combat the threats to our industrial and innovation competitiveness. We must remove any question that the United States of America can lead the world on innovation, manufacturing and economic growth.

The Honorable Edwin Meese III
Attorney General
President Ronald Reagan

The Honorable Kenneth Blackwell
Constitutional Congress, Inc.

Adam Brandon
Freedom Works

Rod D. Martin
Founder and CEO
The Martin Organization, Inc.

Haley E. Martin
The Martin Foundation

Nicholas Stehle
Campaign for the American Future

Diana Banister
President and Partner
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs 

The Honorable Bob McEwen
U.S. House of Representatives
Former Member, Ohio 

Alfred S. Regnery
CNP Action, Inc.

Lisa B. Nelson
American Legislative Exchange Council 

William L. Walton
CNP Action, Inc.

Rebecca Hagelin
Board of Directors, FamilyTalk
Secretary, Council for National Policy

Lee A. Beaman
Beaman Automotive Group 

Tom Giovanetti
Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) 

James L. Martin
Founder & Chairman
60 Plus Association

Martha Boneta
Executive Vice President
Citizens for the Republic

Mathew D. Staver, Esq.
Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel 

The Honorable Morton C. Blackwell
The Weyrich Lunch 

Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D.
The Institute on Religion and Democracy 

Willes K. Lee
National Federation of Republican Assemblies 

Alan P. Dye
Senior Partner
Webster, Chamberlain & Bean 

Seton Motley 
Less Government 

C. Preston Noell III
Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Col Francis X. De Luca
Civitas Institute

Rick Manning
Americans for Limited Government 

Michael R. Long
State Chairman
NYS Conservative Party 

Rick McCrary
Senior Partner
Insurance One

Bob Adams
Revive America PAC 

Tim G. Echols
Public Service Commissioner
State of Georgia

Melvin Adams
Former President

Ben Case
Case Consulting Services, Inc.

Mark Bloom
Ole Podner, LLC 

Lou Cordia
Cordia & Associates Executive Director
President Reagan’s Alumni Association

Gary L. Bauer
American Values

The Honorable Terrence M. Scanlon
Retired CEO / President
Capital Research Center

Jenny Beth Martin
Co-Founder & President
Tea Party Patriots

Mike Spence
Founding President
Conservative Republicans of California

Jerry Melvin
Florida Republican Assembly


The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop
Chairman, Conservative Action Project
Former White House Advisor,
President Ronald Reagan

The Honorable Colin Hanna
Let Freedom Ring, Inc.

David Bozell

Sherri R. Martin
Executive Vice President
The Martin Organization, Inc.

Shawn A. Mitchell
Former National Chaplain
National Federation of Republican Assemblies

Evelio Silvera
Campaign for the American Future

William Mills
WPM Exploration 

Richard D. Hayes
Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant, LLP

The Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr.
Chief Assistant to President Reagan
For Domestic Affairs

Charles Copeland

Intercollegiate Studies Institute 

Caroline Lewis
Percipio Communications 

The Honorable James C. Miller III
Budget Director
President Ronald Reagan 

Rick Scarborough 
Vision America  

Steven Thrasher 
The App Attorney 

Ann L. Drexel 
Member, Board of Governors 
Council for National Policy  

The Honorable Mike Hill 
Former Member 
Florida State House 

Kay R. Daly
Coalition for a Fair Judiciary 

Samuel B. Casey
Managing Director & General Counsel
Jubilee Campaign

Diana Denman
Reagan Legacy Forum

Curt Levey
Committee for Justice

James Edwards
Executive Director
Conservatives for Property Rights 

Christopher Malagisi
Editor in Chief
Conservative Book Club

Ron Robinson
Young America’s Foundation 

Rebekah Gantner
Executive Director
Eagle Forum Education & 
Legal Defense Fund 

Kevin Freeman
NSIC Institute

Dick Patten
American Business Defense Council 

Matthew Kandrach
Consumer Action for a Strong Economy 

The Honorable Ken Cuccinelli II
Senate Conservatives Fund

Jerome R. Corsi, Ph.D.
Washington Bureau Chief

Ralph A. Rebandt II 
Senior Pastor
Oakland Hills Community Church

Robert K. Fischer
Meeting Coordinator
Conservatives of Faith

Tricia Erickson
Angel Pictures & Publicity, Inc.

The Honorable Charles J. Cooper
Former Assistant Attorney General,
Ronald Reagan Administration
Cooper & Kirk 

Lewis K. Uhler
National Tax Limitation Committee

Roxanne Phillips
Executive Committee

Joseph A. Morris
Morris & De La Rosa

Susan A. Carleson
Chairman / CEO
American Civil Rights Union

Cleta Mitchell, Esq.

(All organizations listed for IDENTIFICATION purposes only)