The 2012 US election was about many things, but first and foremost it was about growing the economy and creating jobs. With the campaign now over, the Obama Administration and incoming 113th Congress can accomplish both of those goals in the innovation-driven IT sector by focusing on three big priorities: safeguarding intellectual property rights and protections, opening global markets to digital trade, and fostering the growth of cloud computing.
In the last four years, the Administration has made commendable progress in elevating intellectual property issues through a coordinated domestic effort and concerted dialogue with key trading partners. In the next four years, it will be important for the Administration and Congress to continue building on that progress — especially through trade negotiations such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
As technology issues come up for debate, Members of Congress should always keep in mind that IP rights and protections are indispensable to innovation and the myriad economic and social benefits that come with it. Eroding the ability to commercialize IP-based innovations would cost the software industry and the broader economy dearly.
This is a period of rapid evolution in technology. Innovations like cloud computing offer tremendous new opportunities to expand trade, but there are obstacles to overcome. Some trading partners are seeking to adopt protectionist policies that specifically target IT. This must be stopped for IT advances to benefit technology users around the world. We need to advance a digital trade agenda in the TPP and other agreements to guarantee open and fair market access for all of the products and services that enable the information age. It should include steps to roll back heavy-handed procurement preferences, prevent compulsory IP transfers, embrace industry-led technology standards, and ensure data can flow across international borders.
I congratulate President Obama on his reelection and look forward to working with new and returning Members of Congress on all of this. With the right focus, we can accelerate the digital economy — and everyone can reap the benefits.