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Manufacturers Unite to Protect Intellectual Property

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Manufacturing associations across almost 40 states joined with the NAM in calling on the White House to safeguard intellectual property at the World Trade Organization.

What’s happening: The WTO is considering waiving IP rights for COVID-19-related vaccines and treatments—an action that would harm American manufacturers that have led the fight against COVID-19.

What we’re doing: The NAM has previously pushed back aggressively on the proposal, and alongside manufacturers nationwide, we are stepping up our work. In a letter addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and other senior Biden administration officials, the NAM joined nearly 40 state manufacturing organizations in arguing that waiving these IP rights will negatively affect American manufacturing—as well as the overall fight against COVID-19.

  • “This proposal would weaken critical global rules for IP protections that support innovation in a range of manufacturing sectors by including not only broad new categories of COVID-19 products, but also their upstream supply chains. Furthermore, an expanded waiver allows commercial rivals like China to unfairly seize American innovation to benefit their domestic economies.”

The importance of IP: Those manufacturing associations argue that IP gives an incentive for manufacturers to broaden research and development and a reason to invest in expanding industries. American manufacturers are concerned that the IP waivers would expose them to unfair competition from foreign rivals and would take away employment opportunities from Americans.

The last word: “Our organizations strongly urge the Biden administration and Congress to stand with manufacturers and workers to firmly oppose an expanded IP waiver at the WTO. We stand ready to work with you and your agencies in support of real solutions to the pandemic and future health crises—and to advance U.S. leadership in manufacturing and innovation.”

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