A recent poll by the Morning Consult confirms what is likely intuitive to most: strong intellectual property (IP) rights are important to voters for a variety of reasons.
In the recent poll, a strong majority of voters – sixty-six percent – felt that strong IP helps protect the investments that companies make in research and development (R&D), while fully sixty-three percent of voters believe that IP spurs innovation.
Underscoring the importance of a predictable investment environment, sixty-three percent also believe that companies need strong and reliable IP rights in order to justify their substantial investments into the research and development of innovative medicines.
So what does this tell us?
The poll results overwhelmingly demonstrate that voters draw a direct correlation between strong IP – including effective patent protections – and innovation.
As patients, that means protecting an environment that incentivizes companies to invest in the time-consuming and costly R&D process that can lead to scientific breakthroughs. Unfortunately, legislation currently being considered in the House of Representatives – H.R. 9 – could weaken the ability of pharmaceutical companies to protect their patents. And – critically – H.R. 9 does nothing to stop some hedge fund managers manipulating the patent system to influence stock prices.
In fact, most voters go a step forward and want Congress to take action against hedge funds that use the post grant proceedings at the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to challenge patents in their attempt to manipulate stock prices. Sixty-one percent of voters feel it is likely that patients with life threatening diseases will have fewer treatment options as a result of these actions. And more than eighty percent think Congress should act to stop this behavior.
All Americans have a stake in ensuring our patent system works in a way that both allows inventors to protect their work while incenting them to take bets on new scientific frontiers.
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Robert Zirkelbach Robert Zirkelbach is Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at PhRMA. He joined PhRMA in 2014 after working for seven years representing the health insurance industry. He likes Saturday afternoon BBQs on his deck, traveling, trying new restaurants, and attempting to play golf. He’s an avid, somewhat obsessive, Iowa Hawkeye fan and is lucky to have a wife that loves watching college football on Saturday afternoons.