WASHINGTON, DC (September 24, 2009) -- Just before the G20 summit, on September 24, 2009, US announced a national innovation strategy in advance of the G20 summit, joining a trend that includes China, Canada, and the UK. The White House released a white paper on innovation ("A Strategy for American Innovation Toward Sustainable Growth and Quality Jobs"). The same day, the President gave a speech on the topic at a community college in upstate New York.
The US innovation strategy tries to chart a middle path between laissez-faire deregulation relying on private enterprise and a government-dominated research and development program.
In essence, the US plan tries to promote economic growth and jobs by investing in the building blocks of education, Internet use, research, and promoting competitive markets that encourage entrepreneurship, exports, and open capital markets, to address technological "grand challenges" such as clean energy and health.
Much of the plan is a reframing of existing legislative initiatives and planks of the Obama platform, such as making government operations transparent on the Internet and making college more affordable. The innovation strategy can be seen as a living document that will require further refinement as its ideas are put into practice.
Particularly in the tense arena of intellectual property, the innovation strategy dodges ongoing debates about the extent of patent and copyright protection. It echoes the Bush administration demand that foreign countries should protect IP, but adds that we should "promote greater cooperation on international standards" of IP. It states that the US Patent and Trademark Office should issue high-quality patents, but reject bad ones.
The strategy includes the following statements indicating the administration's explicit effort to find a balanced stand on innovation and intellectual property --
Page 6 - The true choice in innovation is not between government and no government, but about the right type of government involvement in support of innovation. A modern, practical approach recognizes both the need for fundamental support and the hazards of overzealous government intervention. The government should make sure individuals and businesses have the tools and support to take risks and innovate, but should not dictate what risks they take.
Page 7 - We propose to strike a balance by investing in the building blocks that only the government can provide, setting an open and competitive environment for businesses and individuals to experiment and grow, and by providing extra catalysts to jumpstart innovation in sectors of national importance. In this way, we will harness the inherent ingenuity of the American people and a dynamic private sector to generate innovations that help ensure the next expansion is more solid, broad-based, and beneficial than previous ones.
The new innovation strategy adds one small piece to the US innovation and intellectual property, and may be seen in the context of the confirmation of David Kappos to head the US Patent and Trademark Office, and the nomination of Victoria Espinel as Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.
The fact sheets and white paper for the innovation strategy can be found here:
A summary and transcript of the speech can be found here: "Obama Promotes Innovation Jobs," Boston Globe