"It is difficult to overstate the importance of intellectual property to the United States today."
That was the message from Victoria Espinel, nominee for the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator post, to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"A generation ago, more than two-thirds of the assets of U.S. publicly traded companies were comprised of tangible assets -- factories, equipment, land," she told the Senators at her nomination hearing Wednesday according to a prepared text. "Today, more than two-thirds of the assets of U.S. publicly traded companies are intangible -- these are the networks, the trade secrets, the management teams and the intellectual property that position American firms at the top of the global supply chain."
She said it was critical to protect "American creativity and innovation," which she called the country's biggest advantage. She promised to work "side by side" with Congress and industry and the public to make sure that IP jobs are not put at risk 'by others' unwillingness to respect and enforce the rule of law."
Espinel's task will be to coordinate IP enforcement across various government agencies to "reduce illegal profits pocketed by infringers."
"This nomination heralds a new era where counterfeiting and anti-piracy become a White House priority in protecting innovation, technical invention and creativity that drive the American economy," said NBC Rick Cotton, executive vice president and general counsel, NBC Universal. "Her testimony reflects the kind of policies that the Pro IP Act contemplated and this is an exciting day for the U.S.'s economic future."
The Pro IP Act created the new enforcement position in the Executive Office of the President that Espinel is filling.
Espinel's swift nomination has been urged by the Copyright Alliance, which inludes NBCU and Multichannel News parent Reed Elsevier.