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BIO Statement on Release of USTR’s 2017 “Special 301 Report”

May 1, 2017

Washington, D.C. (May 1, 2017) – The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) issued the following statement today:

“BIO welcomes the release of USTR’s 2017 Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Rights. The United States leads the world in global biotech research and innovation, and relies on the strong protection of intellectual property rights globally to maintain the engine of innovation. U.S. bioscience industries employed 1.66 million people in 2014 across more than 77,000 U.S. business establishments. The broader employment impact of U.S. bioscience jobs is an additional 7.53 million jobs throughout the
rest of the economy. Taken together, these direct, indirect, and induced bioscience jobs account for a total employment impact of 9.2 million jobs. 

“The research and development of cutting edge pharmaceutical, agricultural, industrial, and environmental biotechnology products requires substantial capital, involves long time frames, and is inherently risky.  The vast majority of BIO’s roughly 1000 members are small- and medium-sized enterprises that currently do not have products on the market.  As such, BIO’s members rely heavily on the strength and scope of their intellectual property (IP) to generate investments needed to develop and commercialize their technologies.

“USTR’s 2017 report addresses many of the key IP-related challenges that BIO members face globally, including inadequate legal protections, enforcement issues, restrictive patentability criteria, lengthy patent backlogs, and the threat of outright expropriation of U.S. intellectual property rights through compulsory licensing.  

“The promise of biotechnology is that it can address some of the biggest challenges facing mankind, including health, hunger, and environmental protection. While stronger IP laws and policies in foreign markets help BIO members do business abroad, a commitment to stronger IP also works to increase the global incentives for biotech research and investment, including investments in countries seeking to foster innovation in biosciences.”

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