Increasingly, economists and international organizations are recognizing innovation as one of the most important drivers of economic and social progress and stability. In fact, a report released earlier this year from the Global Intellectual Property Center, declared a robust innovation environment as “essential to the success of any 21st century economy.” But it’s not just think tanks and academics acknowledging the value of innovation—the public is as well.
In a recent U.S. poll on trade and innovation conducted by Morning Consult, 94 percent of respondents believe invention and innovations are somewhat or very important to the economy (and nearly three-quarters said they were “very important”). When asked about which industries were perceived as most innovative, the technology industry is seen as the leader in innovation, followed by biopharma, agriculture and manufacturing.
Survey findings indicate that Americans not only understand which industries bring innovative products and processes to the public, they also recognize the importance of protecting these industries and U.S. innovation more generally. When asked about other countries using American inventions without properly compensating the inventor, the majority of respondents believe this harms the economy (70 percent), is detrimental to American inventors and entrepreneurs (70 percent) and harms American workers (70 percent), companies (68 percent) and job creation (66 percent).
With these implications in mind, respondents want the U.S. to take further steps to protect innovation. Two-thirds would like the U.S. to do more to prevent other countries from using inventions without proper compensation, and 68 percent want more on preventing other countries from infringing on trade deals that put inventions at risk from being stolen. Eighty-three percent think if trading partners in other countries don’t play by the rules, the U.S. should hold them accountable.
It’s clear that experts and the general public alike understand the value of innovation and want to ensure that it is properly protected. It’s critical that policymakers and international leaders account for this and take steps to ensure innovation and innovative industries are supported and safeguarded from both domestic and international threats.
Mark Grayson Mark Grayson is a former deputy vice president of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on intellectual property, trade and international issues.