WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan today announced that he and Congressman Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) led 49 Republicans in sending a letter to President Joe Biden urging his administration halt its plan to waive intellectual property (IP) protections for U.S. companies. Buchanan also introduced legislation, the Protecting American Innovation Act, to ensure that Congress has final approval over any such action.
“Intellectual property rights encourage innovation and help boost the economy,” said Buchanan. “The Biden administration’s misguided proposal to waive IP protections will discourage innovation and make it more difficult to achieve the next life-saving medical breakthrough. It will also serve as a massive giveaway to countries like China, Russia and India that have been stealing American innovators’ intellectual property for years.”
After the Biden administration announced that it had come to a consensus under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement to waive IP protections for U.S. developed COVID-19 vaccines, Buchanan, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) and 49 other members of Congress shed light on how this plan puts our national security at risk.
“The reported agreement allows any government or company to copy state-of-the-art American technology, inevitably ensuring that it falls into the hands of Russia, China and other adversaries that threaten the United States and our allies,” said the members in the letter.
In response to the Biden administration’s recent decision, Buchanan and Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) last week introduced the Protecting American Innovation Act to prohibit the administration from unilaterally dismantling IP protections for U.S. companies and handing American innovation over to our foreign adversaries.
Specifically, the Protecting American Innovation Act requires the USTR to consult with Congress when negotiating U.S. trade agreements, including TRIPS waivers. It also requires the Executive Branch to report to Congress on why a TRIPS waiver is necessary.
As the Republican Leader of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, Buchanan has been a leader on protecting the IP rights of U.S. businesses. In March, he questioned Amb. Tai in a full committee hearing on the Biden administration’s plan.
“Your plan to deprive these American firms of their patent protections is unprecedented and will undermine future investments in life-saving drugs and therapies,” said Buchanan in the hearing. “We need to protect American jobs and promote domestic manufacturing here in America. Your plan does the exact opposite.”
In May 2021, before the agreement was finalized, Buchanan, Carter and 116 other Republican members expressed their concerns with the proposal in a letter to President Biden. The members have yet to receive a response from the Biden administration.