15 August 2011. Improving intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement in foreign markets is in the strategic interest of U.S. businesses who sell their goods and services abroad. Currently, the lack of institutional capacity and IPR awareness in many developing countries hinders U.S. exports and business opportunities, as sales are lost to counterfeit products and markets are ruled out as companies chose not to risk having their IP fall into the wrong hands.

Despite this reality, technical assistance and capacity building programs involving IPR have not been a high priority for global development programs.

In order to determine whether U.S. agencies should focus more of their resources on IPR-based assistance programs, the International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are conducting a joint study of the relationships between current technical assistance and capacity-building programs to the growth of U.S. exports and other business activities. The study will analyze the effectiveness of current assistance programs and provide recommendations that will enable agencies, such as USPTO, the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID), and the Commerce Department’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP), to develop more effective programs.

The study will include an econometric analysis correlating IPR-related technical assistance to U.S. export levels. These results will be compared to a series of case studies which will include small, medium, and large U.S. companies in the manufacturing, technology, and licensing industries, in order to determine whether they accurately represent the real world effects of the programs.

Image © David Ansley 2009