IP protection critical to domestic manufacturing success

With innovation driving the success of domestic manufacturing, securing intellectual property is critical for effective research and development. 

With small business manufacturers paving the way for technological advancement, these entrepreneurs need to protect their intellectual property as they raise start-up funds, according to Michele Nash-Hoff, president of ElectroFab Sales, in Industry Week.

She said investors must have the ability to fund marketable products, making IP protection necessary since these products must be secured either through "patent pending" or issued patents.

Economist Pat Choate said the U.S. is a global leader in issuing patents regarding IP protection but provisions of the America Invents Act intending to protect patents may be harming innovation seen from small manufacturers. Some larger companies opt to file a patent in hopes of derailing production from smaller businesses, according to Industry Week.

Despite these potentially damaging effects related to IP protection, the U.S. government is taking steps to ensure plans and ideas for manufacturing technology are not stolen. The Obama administration issued the 2013 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement in June, stating the administration has enhanced legislation to progress law enforcement and reduce theft of technology.

Professional organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers agree that problems related to safeguarding IP such as counterfeiting and piracy must be avoided in order for domestic manufacturing to be competitive globally.

"Intellectual property (IP) rights are the lifeblood of our economy, and the protection of those rights assures manufacturers that their inventions will be secure as they create jobs and build industries around them," NAM said. "The government should support this effort by adequately funding and staffing existing institutions responsible for technology, science, intellectual property and research and development (R&D) programs."

NAM said it cooperates with law makers to create public policies that protect intellectual property in order to strengthen the research and development of new innovations.

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