Statement from Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim on the 20th Anniversary of World Intellectual Property Day


This week, the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division celebrates the 20th anniversary of World Intellectual Property Day.  The division marks the occasion by remembering the revolutionary ideal that our nation’s founding fathers embedded in the U.S. Constitution: that “securing . . . to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries” will “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.”  For over 200 years, this “exclusive Right” has served as the foundation of the U.S. system of patent, copyright, and trademark laws.

Indeed, as James Madison explained in The Federalist Papers, “The utility of this power (the Intellectual Property Clause) will scarcely be questioned. The copyright of authors has been solemnly adjudged, in Great Britain, to be a right of common law. The right to useful inventions seems with equal reason to belong to the inventors. The public good fully coincides in both cases with the claims of individuals.”

Securing the rights of individuals over their inventions and creative output provides powerful incentives for innovation and dynamic competition.  Time and again, strong intellectual property rights have fueled new technologies and creative trends that break down the power of entrenched monopolists—all to the benefit of consumers all over the world.

Inventors, scientists, authors, musicians, and filmmakers have enriched our cultural fabric, improved our health, inspired generations of consumers to become innovators themselves, and helped make America great.  As then-Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division Robert H. Jackson, in a speech before the New York State Bar Association, put it: we are “a nation whose genius is invention.”  In celebration of World Intellectual Property Day, the Antitrust Division honors these innovators and artists by helping to protect the intellectual property rights on which they rely.

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