Earlier this month, President Obama presented his American Jobs Act. He made clear that “we have to be able to out-build and out-educate and out-innovate every other country on Earth.” This week I traveled to Delaware and visited with several representatives of American companies and toured facilities which embody the President’s vision. These companies are helping our country win the future through their advancements in innovation.
I started my day with a visit to DuPont’s experimental station and met with their CEO Ellen Kullman. DuPont’s Experimental Station was one of the first industrial research laboratories in the United States and is the birthplace of many inventions. DuPont invests approximately 2 billion dollars a year in research and development of its cutting edge science and technology innovations. I was very glad to be accompanied by Delaware Senator Chris Coons who, as a former General Counsel at a technology company, has a strong background in protecting and fostering American creativity.
I also met with local members of the National Association of Manufacturers whose membership represents some of our country’s leaders in creative and innovative technologies. These manufacturers operate and innovate in sectors like pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, telecommunications, food production and bio-tech medical companies. We shared and exchanged ideas for economic growth and ways industry and government can partner to protect our investments in American innovation.
I wrapped up my day with a tour of W.L. Gore’s exhibit hall. Founded by Bill and Vieve Gore in their basement, W.L. Gore is best known for Gore-Tex fabrics. But through their creativity and innovative ideas, Gore has found multiple uses for the molecule. Today Gore technology is widely used in products varying from clothing used by campers in the great outdoors to clothing used by astronauts in outer space. Even more amazing are Gore’s achievements with medical devices which have led to the application of their fabric in cardiovascular surgery. This innovative idea has allowed doctors to plug holes in human hearts and has been directly responsible for saving lives worldwide. This all started with a husband and wife and the spirit of innovation in their basement.
I was truly inspired by the creativity of the innovators I met in Delaware. We must continue to protect their creative and innovative ideas and safeguard them against theft and unfair competition. This is essential because as President Obama said in his State of the Union Address earlier this year, “the first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.”
Victoria Espinel is the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator