The U.S. patent system has supported innovation and discovery dating back to the founding of our nation and the signing of the U.S. Constitution, encouraging Americans to continue to search for the next great idea or product. Today marks a major milestone in the history of American innovation as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued its 10 millionth patent.
The protections for intellectual property (IP) provided by patents have enabled people and organizations to make investments that lead to groundbreaking discoveries across all industries – from nanotechnology to textiles to aeronautics – that have changed the way we live.
For the biopharmaceutical industry, the U.S. patent system has been especially important as it has spurred investment in research and development for life-changing and lifesaving medicines. This has included the discovery of cures for some diseases, like Hepatitis C, as well as huge progress in the treatment of other diseases through the advent of personalized medicine and immunotherapies. Patents provide companies with certainty and time to engage in the lengthy and costly research process needed to develop safe and effective medicines like these breakthroughs.
Not only does the U.S. patent system promote the search for the next treatment or cure, it also supports a strong U.S. economy. IP-intensive manufacturing industries drive economic progress and collectively support 57.6 million American jobs. The biopharmaceutical industry is a leader among these industries, contributing substantially to national, state and local economies by employing 800,000 Americans directly and supporting 4.7 million jobs nationwide.
The lifeblood of the biopharmaceutical industry lies in our inventions – each medical innovation that leads to a new or improved treatment or cure. That’s why today, we are celebrating this historic milestone and the important role of USPTO and the U.S. patent system in enabling biopharmaceutical companies to keep working to develop new treatments and cures.
Nicole Longo Nicole is senior director of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on Medicare, 340B, importation and more. She previously worked for a D.C.-based public affairs firm where she assisted a wide range of clients with communications efforts on everything from trade policy to agriculture policy to health care policy. Outside the office, Nicole can be found trying new restaurants (usually Italian), taking an occasional barre class and cheering on the Cincinnati Bengals.