The Gary Locke Record on IP

Feb 25, 2009

Earlier today, President Barack Obama announced the nomination of former Washington governor Gary Locke as commerce secretary.  In light of this announcement, a review of Locke’s record on intellectual property suggests a significant degree of familiarity and experience with these issues and a keen appreciation of the role creative ownership rights play in incentivizing inventors, entrepreneurs and companies to innovate and create jobs.

Governor Locke has a clear record of cracking down on intellectual property theft in his home state, while advocating for enhanced global engagement as a means of improving IP enforcement, particularly with respect to China.

As governor of a state that Microsoft, Boeing and a robust high tech community call home, Gary Locke has shown he understands the responsibilities our political leaders have in supporting our knowledge-based economy.  As economic hard times continue, our government must safeguard and promote the very ideas that will enable our innovation economy to stabilize and then flourish once again.  Innovators like Bill Gates have proven the vast potential of turning ideas into full-fledged inventions that generate jobs, promote growth and improve our quality of life.  Protecting ideas through strong intellectual property rights and enforcement will help encourage the next generation of Bill Gates and others who will be on the front lines of our innovation economy in the 21st century.

Based on his record, Gary Locke’s perspective is a welcome sign about the quality of advice President Obama will be receiving about protecting inventors’ rights through a strong intellectual property system.  We look forward to learning more about Locke’s plans to protect and enforce intellectual property rights during the Senate confirmation process.

During his political career, former Governor Gary Locke has demonstrated his support of intellectual property rights.  For example:

In 2006, Former Gov. Locke Met With Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao To Discuss The Importance Of IP Issues To Local Companies That He Represented. "Locke's emerging role took shape in his visit with Wen in July. Locke used the opportunity to bring up issues important to his clients, such as intellectual property. He listened intently to Wen talk about China's development strategy, and then mentioned Microsoft, Starbucks, Weyerhaeuser and other local companies he thought could help." (Kristi Heim, "Forging ties With China Suits Locke," The Seattle Times, 9/8/06)

Former Gov. Locke Has Supported Global Engagement As A Means To Stem Piracy Of IP-Protected Goods. "Like other free-traders, Locke promotes global engagement as a way to improve China's human rights record and deal with piracy of intellectual property and other concerns." (David Ammons, "Locke Finds Post-Olympia Life Blissfully Quiet," The Associated Press, 5/25/06)

In 2000, Former Gov. Locke Signed An Executive Order To Curb "The Illegal Acquisition And Distribution Of Computer Software In Washington State Government.”  “Showing his commitment to Washington's software industry, Gov. Gary Locke today signed an executive order designed to prevent the illegal acquisition and distribution of computer software in Washington state government." (Office Of Governor Gary Locke, "Locke Signs Order To Combat Software Piracy," Press Release, 4/3/00)

Locke: "Illegal software use has a very damaging impact on Washington's economy. … We cannot tolerate counterfeiters who try to make a quick buck by pawning illegal software to honest consumers at the expense of Washington's taxpayers." (Office Of Governor Gary Locke, "Locke Signs Order To Combat Software Piracy," Press Release, 4/3/00)

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