The United States has long been a leader in fostering for itself a strong intellectual property system and encouraging other nations to develop strong intellectual property systems. And it makes sense that we should — our nation has had a 230-plus year commitment to innovation. Our founding fathers enshrined IP rights in our Constitution, affirmative rights that in other countries are only granted grudgingly. IP is a right of the people — not an exception taken at the discretion of the government. Our commitment to innovation has served us well, producing the strongest innovation environment the world has ever seen.
But there is another side to US intellectual property leadership, evident in the dual roles of incentivizing innovators by giving them protection for their creations, while ultimately permitting widespread dissemination of those creations to enrich the public corpus and facilitate future innovation. Both roles are critical and, although the second is less attractive for innovators in the short-term, the benefits of the resulting increase in collective intelligence stemming from the dissemination of creative work is key to technological advancement.