April 26 marks the tenth annual World Intellectual Property Day. The United States has celebrated and protected innovation and creativity since George Washington signed the first American patent in 1790. The ideas and inspirations of our citizens fuel our economy, enrich our culture and help us meet global challenges from climate change to poverty, hunger and disease.
Today, because of advances in technology and falling trade barriers, information and ideas circle the globe faster and more freely than ever. But these same trends have also increased intellectual piracy, from illegal file downloads to bootleg recordings to counterfeit products. Theft of intellectual property is a crime that erodes the incentive to create and poses a serious barrier to making legitimate products and services available to the public.
The Obama Administration is committed to fostering innovation at home and protecting intellectual property rights around the world. The President has named an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator and at the State Department we have made intellectual property a diplomatic priority. We are working with our trading partners, businesses, and international organizations to protect intellectual property interests while opening markets for new technologies and products.
On the tenth anniversary of World Intellectual Property Day, we salute the scientists, inventors, writers, composers and other creative individuals who contribute so much to our common humanity. Let us work together to protect their innovation, and that of future generations.