Innovation is far more than invention; it is the creation, implementation, and marketing of new processes, products, and services. Innovation contributes to productivity, economic growth, social benefits, and capacity for future innovation and growth. A wide range of policies are needed to support innovation, since successful innovation depends on people, investment, infrastructure, markets, and freedom to create and act. These many factors and lag times means that innovation policy must take a long-term perspective. In comparison to other countries, there is little institutionalized coordination of innovation policy in the US, although the Obama Administration has developed two versions of a national innovation strategy.
Encouraging innovation should be a paramount policy goal in all policy domains, not just those that are traditionally linked to it, such as the funding of basic research, patents, and technology transfer. Policies should take a long-term view attuned to future innovators, rather than rewarding past innovators. The former are likely to be underrepresented, while the latter have usually reaped the benefits of innovation and are able to make their needs heard. Policies should recognize that innovation practices and patterns vary widely – especially across different industries – and that digital technology is playing a major role in enabling new forms of innovation.
To this end, CCIA supports patent reform that serves the long-terms of the digital economy, especially small innovators that lack the resources to participate aggressively in patent litigation. CCIA also supports copyright law that does not subordinate innovation to the demands of content owners. Similarly, telecom regulation should enable infrastructure to serve as a platform for independent innovators that do not have to depend on permission from common access providers.