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National Alliance for Jobs and Innovation Issues First-In-Nation Report Card on Effectiveness of State Laws In Protecting Manufacturers’ Intellectual Property

July 14, 2016Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Alliance for Jobs and Innovation (NAJI) released “Protection of Intellectual Property Rights Under State Consumer Protection Laws”, a report card on the effectiveness of laws in 50 states in protecting manufacturers’ intellectual property (IP) and the jobs that depend on trade secrets and other IP. For many American manufacturers today, IP is the most valuable asset they own – more valuable than their factories and other physical plants.

“State consumer protection laws provide a broad framework for enforcement against companies – including companies based overseas – that use misappropriated or stolen IP to seek an unfair competitive advantage,” said Rob McKenna, NAJI President and former Attorney General of Washington state. “We evaluated each state statute based on eleven criteria to determine which states have the strongest and which have the weakest laws.”

“The intellectual property of U.S. companies is under constant attack, costing our economy up to $300 billion in annual losses and threatening an estimated 40 million jobs that directly or indirectly rely on IP-intensive industries, including manufacturers,” said Nicole Lamb-Hale, NAJI Chair and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce, International Trade Administration. “By leveraging existing laws, states can prosecute IP thieves and protect businesses operating in their states and the jobs they provide. However, a state’s ability to do so depends largely on the scope of its statutes.”

“In the states that received high marks—Louisiana, New Jersey and Vermont—the statutes protect businesses in addition to consumers; are broad enough to allow their enforcement against IP theft; and provide sufficient remedies for complainants,” said McKenna. “The statutes in states that received the lowest marks—Virginia, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming—do not.”

“When a competitor steals IP instead of investing the resources to create IP, significant harm is inflicted upon law-abiding U.S. companies—particularly manufacturers—by forcing them to compete on an uneven playing field,” said Roy Paulson, NAJI Vice-Chair, and a longtime manufacturing CEO. “NAJI works with manufacturers at no cost to bring their cases to the attention of their state Attorney General. Since 2012, nine states have taken steps to protect manufacturers and fight IP theft. Our hope is that more will follow suit.”

About NAJI: NAJI is a nonpartisan alliance of concerned manufacturers, associations, academics and other businesses. We work together to promote enforcement remedies and public policies that protect IP, including the Defend Trade Secrets Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on May 11, 2016. NAJI members are committed to ending unfair competition by stopping the theft of data, trade secrets, and other IP. For more information, visit www.NAJI.org  

Note: Metrics presented in “Consumer Protection in the States” published by Carolyn L. Carter, National Consumer Law Center (NCLC), were used in NAJI’s analysis. Use granted by permission of the NCLC, May 2016.

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