blankThe Trump Administration has established a “triumvirite” of capable leaders representing American interests and promoting innovation of the peopleby the people, and for the people. A strong intellectual property advocate, soon-to-be Ambassador Robert Lighthizer will be charged with advancing the national interests of global marketplace competitiveness for innovative products and services of the American people. Having decided to retain Michelle Lee as Director of the United States Patent & Trademark Office and Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, the Administration continues its focus on the protection and commercialization of innovation by the American people. And, by the appointment of the youthful Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, to serves as Director of the White House Office of American Innovation, the Administration shown its commitment to improving the services of the United States government through better procurement and innovation for the American people.

Robert Lighthizer, Nominee, U.S. Trade Representtive. On Jan. 3, 2017, Robert Lighthizer was nominated to the position of United States Trade Representative, and on March 14, he sat before the Senate for his confirmation hearing.blank

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) says that Lighthizer will be “a critical player in ensuring that America’s trade agenda reflects U.S. commercial interests, while helping set the standard for global trade.”

Intellectual Property Watch says that the nomination “appears to fit Trump’s strong stance on China, including on intellectual property protection,” and that some sources “indicated privately that Lighthizer’s tough stance on China could be good for reducing the flow of unauthorised creative content such as movies and music, both online and, for instance, openly in the streets of China.

Lighthizer has support from both the left and the right, and he seems concerned with their priorities, particularly intellectual property and the protection of the rights of the creative class, including inventors and music producers. During his confirmation hearing, the topic of intellectual property rights came up at least a half-dozen times. Lighthizer talked of a “robust protection of intellectual property,” because he sees it as in the interest of the “competitive advantage of the United States.” He will push a “policy as aggressive as we can have” in India, in particular. The slow processes, inefficiencies, and short patent protections in India are areas Lighthizer highlighted as responsible for increased abuses there.

On neither the left nor the right do we hear much debate about the existence of intellectual property itself. Lighthizer was not criticized or challenged for his conceptualization of intellectual property; he was only asked to explain how he will defend it for corporations based in the U.S.

According to Lighthizer,  “The goal of U.S. trade policy is to eliminate unfair barriers and distortions to global markets for American products and services. There are Americans who argue against us protecting our IP rights overseas.

They transpose their ill-conceived IP policy goals on to trade policy, seeking to have the United States condone or even demand weaker protection for its innovators and creators overseas. This is the functional equivalent of a policy of U.S.-based innovators subsidizing foreign competitors and consumers at the expense of American jobs and economic growth.

The U.S. seeks IP provisions in free trade agreements based on U.S. law; we ask our trading partners only to do what we do for ourselves. Unfortunately, other countries have been able to negotiate down from that high standard, allowing our free trade agreement partners to short-change our creators and innovators.

President Trump wants to bring back American jobs. Proper protection of intellectual property is a key way to do that. It is clear that Ambassador Lighthizer will be a force for good, so I hope the Senate confirms him soon so he can get to work promoting the American creativity and ingenuity that defines the American spirit.

To learn more about Mr. Lighthizer, watch his testimony before the U.S. Senate in confirmation hearings:

 


Director Michelle Lee, USPTO and Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property.

blankNow something of a known voice and proven leader, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Michelle Lee retains her titles in the Trump Administration. Selected by President Obama to head the USPTO, Lee has proven adept at working through the Washington political landscape from many perspectives.  Most importantly, Director Lee has proven herself capable of leadership to achieve quantifiable results. On point are her recent remarks at the  35th Trilateral Heads of Offices Meeting in Seville, the Kingdom of Spain.

There, Director Lee highlighted the USPTO 2016 Performance and Accountability Report and updates on our work on improving patent quality. She reported that U.S. patent filings increased more than 5 percent in fiscal year 2016 to over 650,000 applications, represents an almost 50 percent increase in the number of applications that we received just 10 years ago. The USPTO, she said, issued approximately 335,000 patents in 2016—almost double the amount that we issued 10 years ago. She reported that the USPTO had expanded its Patent Prosecution Highway footprint in Latin America.

Director Lee is proud of the success of the USPTO by giving a glimpse at some of the progress made on top activities and initiatives, she makes clear why the Trump Administration is comfortable with her retaining her post, even in a fundamentally different political Washington, D.C. landscape.

To learn more about Director Lee and her views, watch the following video:

 


blankJared Kushner, Director, White House Office of American Innovation. Trump has created a new Office of American Innovation to take on one of the stickiest wickets in the government — procurement, and particularly the buying of technology. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said President Donald Trump is naming Jared Kushner, the assistant to the President and his son-in-law, to lead the new office.

“The Office of American Innovation will apply the President’s ahead of schedule and under budget mentality to a wide number of government operations and services, enhancing the quality of life for all Americans,” Spicer said March 27 during his daily briefing in Washington. “The office will have a particular focus on technology and data, hearing back from leaders in the industry. As some of its first priorities, the office will focus on modernizing the technology of every federal department, identifying transformational infrastructure projects and reimagining the VA’s systems so they can better serve our nation’s heroes.”

At 36 years old, Kushner has an almost unprecedented level of access to the president for someone without any political or policy experience. Kushner told the Post that he believed government should be run like a “great American company” which would achieve efficiencies for citizens who are the government’s “customers.”

Kushner’s lack of experience in government may be a benefit, especially when it comes to acquisition. Sean Spicer, Trump’s Press Secretary has said, “If you’ve ever really dealt with the government and recognize how outdated and unmodernized some of it is, it’s not serving the American people and it’s not serving the constituents that many departments have. I think looking at how we procure different things, and procure technology in particular is important,” Spicer said. “When you look at the VA, in particular, and recognize how it handles certain things. There are certain things it does really well. It buys prescription drugs really well. It buys in bulk and gets the job done. But there are certain things it may not do as well in terms of how it keeps its records, how it serves veterans and how it lends money. We can look at and figure out if there is a better way.”

There are certain business practices it can borrow that can help deliver a better service to citizens in some of these key areas. According to Spicer, “The Office of American Innovation will apply the President’s ahead of schedule and under budget mentality to a wide number of government operations and services, enhancing the quality of life for all Americans,” Spicer said March 27 during his daily briefing in Washington. “The office will have a particular focus on technology and data, hearing back from leaders in the industry. As some of its first priorities, the office will focus on modernizing the technology of every federal department, identifying transformational infrastructure projects and reimagining the VA’s systems so they can better serve our nation’s heroes.”

Kushner’s lack of experience in government may be a benefit, especially when it comes to acquisition. Says Spicer, “If you’ve ever really dealt with the government and recognize how outdated and unmodernized some of it is, it’s not serving the American people and it’s not serving the constituents that many departments have. I think looking at how we procure different things, and procure technology in particular is important,” Spicer said. “When you look at the VA, in particular, and recognize how it handles certain things. There are certain things it does really well. It buys prescription drugs really well. It buys in bulk and gets the job done. But there are certain things it may not do as well in terms of how it keeps its records, how it serves veterans and how it lends money. We can look at and figure out if there is a better way.”

Spicer said there are certain business practices it can borrow that can help deliver a better service to citizens in some of these key areas. He said Kushner will be bringing in businessmen with experience to help with this effort. “This office will bring together the best ideas from government, the private sector, and other thought leaders to ensure that America is ready to solve today’s most intractable problems, and is positioned to meet tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities,” President Trump wrote in the memo released March 27. “The office will focus on implementing policies and scaling proven private-sector models to spur job creation and innovation.”

To learn more about Mr. Kushner, the following video is illuminating:


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