FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 26 February 2013. U.S. technical assistance programs involving intellectual property rights are positively correlated with increased U.S. business activity, a new study shows. Investigators at the International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI) discovered a small, positive relationship between technical assistance programs and indicators of increased U.S. trade, including increased exports to and royalty and licensing receipts from the recipients of technical assistance programs.

The study’s investigators assembled a dataset consisting of trade data for 233 countries and 32 industries. They found that for every $100 spent on intellectual property-related technical assistance, U.S. exports increased $80. The investigators also found a positive correlation between technical assistance and royalty and licensing receipts.

The investigators also interviewed representatives from U.S. companies that do business in countries that host U.S. technical assistance programs. The interviewees confirmed that these programs are effective in improving business environments, but cautioned that these programs are sometimes hindered by insufficient prior notice.

Bruce Lehman, Chairman and President of the International Intellectual Property Institute, emphasized the study’s importance in guiding future policy decisions: “Policymakers have long believed that technical assistance programs could increase trade. This study provides evidence of the relationship between technical assistance and exports and guidance on improving these programs.”

The investigators confirmed the results of their statistical analysis by interviewing U.S. and foreign government and industry representatives. Interviewees reported that technical assistance programs provided many tangible benefits for U.S. businesses. However, they cautioned that these programs were not as successful as they could be because of a lack of industry notification and involvement.

The study, a joint project between IIPI and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), was authored by Charles A. Schwartz of Commercial Legal Environment Advancement and Reform LLC (CLEAR LLC); and Laura M. Baughman, Joseph F. Francois, and Christine A. McDaniel of Trade Partnerships Worldwide LLC. Alexander Koff of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP, and Jason Koch and Eric Robbins of IIPI also contributed to the study.

An electronic version of the study can be downloaded here.

The International Intellectual Property Institute is a non-profit international development organization and think tank that promotes the use of intellectual property rights to create jobs and increase competitiveness in developing countries. Bruce Lehman, former Commissioner of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, founded the institute in 1998 and continues to serve as its Chairman and President. Jorge Amigo Castañeda, former Director General of the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property, is the institute’s Vice Chairman.

Image © 2010 S. Ho