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Creating a Fair Playing Field for American Businesses Overseas

Victoria Espinel, U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, explains efforts to enforce American intellectual property rights as the President seeks to dramatically expand American exports.

President Obama has set a goal to double our exports in five years. Increasing exports will create jobs and open valuable new markets for the millions of American small and medium sized businesses.   

However, our ability to increase exports depends on Americans being able to compete overseas without facing discriminatory policies, burdensome legal regimes or unfair practices.  We want to make sure export opportunities are there and support our businesses as they are entering overseas markets.

One of the challenges our businesses face today are markets where their innovation and intellectual property rights need better protection and enforcement or where they have to navigate overly complex and sometimes unfair legal regimes. Our export markets need to be fair, open and accessible—unpolluted by counterfeit goods—and free of discriminatory policies that can disadvantage our intellectual property industries.

Working effectively with our trading partners is critical to improved enforcement and open markets. I've just returned from a trip to Brussels to discuss ways we can work with the European government to resolve concerns in overseas markets. And John Morton, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is traveling to Europe this week to push the international law enforcement community to increase the number of global cross-border law enforcement cases.

You can help too.  We are asking the public, including all our exporters and potential exporters, for their views on the challenges they face in protecting their innovation and creative works or in enforcing their rights, how well what we are doing now to support our businesses works and, most of all, ideas on what we can do better. The Department of Commerce has issued a public call for input:, read the guidelines (pdf) and submit your feedback via, docket number ITA–2010–0006. 

We encourage you to read it and send us your ideas.