Posted by Horacio Gutierrez 
Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel

Late Thursday, the Senate voted to confirm Victoria Espinel as the first United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC).  Microsoft applauds this action and welcomes the opportunity to work with Ms. Espinel as she moves into her new role.

The U.S. software industry has been an engine for jobs and economic growth.  In 2007, the software and related services sector employed 1.7 million people in jobs that –  on average – paid 195 of the national norm.  And the sector contributed more than $261 billion to GSP, making it the largest of the U.S. copyright industries.  Balanced IP laws and enforcement polices at home and abroad are necessary to safeguard these contributions.

The most important, immediate task before the IPEC will be to work with leaders across agencies of the government to develop a national IP strategy.  At a time when continued high rates of piracy around the world create losses – of revenue for companies, of jobs for workers, and of tax dollars -- Congress was right to call for the development of an all-up IP strategic plan that pulls together the work of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, and others.  By directing a government-wide effort to promote information sharing, greater alignment of goals, and more effective use of resources, the new IPEC will bring valuable enhanced focus to the government’s efforts to protect American innovation and investment.