WASHINGTON—Following the recent introduction of the bipartisan Stopping and Excluding Chinese Rip-offs and Exports of the United States Trade Secrets Act of 2021—also known as the SECRETS Act—that makes it easier for firms who believe they are victims of IP theft to block imports of products built with their trade secrets, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, issued the following statement from ITIF’s president, Robert D. Atkinson:
The SECRETS Act protects the economy from products resulting from stolen trade secrets, thus reducing the ability of foreign firms and countries, such as China, to benefit from intellectual property theft. This is a much-needed bill as current legal processes addressing IP theft are slow and cumbersome and don’t keep up with the rapid pace of technological innovation.
The bill covers imports of both physical and digital products resulting from IP theft, a sign that policymakers acknowledge that U.S. innovation and competitive advantage is increasingly based on digital technologies.
Although it’s hard to imagine China changing its trade philosophy and dropping its predatory acquisitions of foreign intellectual property, U.S. firms and policymakers should not stand and watch competitors reaping the benefits of America’s investments in R&D and innovation efforts.
Likeminded U.S. trading partners should enact similar legislation so that other markets deny access to IP-stealing firms.