Policy and Legal

NAM, Partners Urge Administration to Withdraw “March-in” Proposal

If finalized, guidance proposed last year by the Biden administration to allow the federal government to seize manufacturers’ intellectual property rights would be ruinous to the U.S. innovation economy, the NAM and state partners told Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo this week.

What’s going on: In December, the Biden administration issued a proposal to enable government agencies to “march in” and revoke companies’ patent exclusivity if a product’s development was funded in any part by federal research dollars.

  • Under the proposal, the government’s decision of whether to march in would be based on a product’s price—effectively imposing government-mandated price controls on innovative products like clean energy solutions, next-generation semiconductors and lifesaving medicines.

Manufacturers fight back: The NAM and a coalition of regional and state manufacturing associations are pushing back, highlighting the importance of ironclad IP rights to groundbreaking innovation.

  • “[T]urning groundbreaking R&D into innovative products for the American people is only possible if creators—from university researchers to early-stage entrepreneurs to established businesses—can rely on strong intellectual property protections,” the associations told Raimondo.

Small business impacts: Startups and small businesses would pay the heaviest toll if the new march-in standards are finalized.

  • Scientists and researchers at universities nationwide will face difficulties in partnering with the industry and in founding startups based on their research, “strik[ing] a blow to the local economies in [all 50] states that depend on university-centered innovation hubs for job creation and economic growth.”
  • If a promising idea makes it out of the lab, outside investors will be reluctant to inject the capital necessary for further R&D and product development—resulting in fewer life-changing and lifesaving products for the American people.

What needs to happen: Manufacturers are calling on the Biden administration to reverse course.

  • “We urge you to protect our local, state and regional economies, which benefit from breakthrough research, entrepreneurship and modern manufacturing, by withdrawing the proposed march-in guidance.”
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