CCIA Responds To Think Tank Report Aimed At Tech Industry

BY Heather Greenfield
September 11, 2017

Washington — A report from a new think tank, the New Center Project, rightly bemoans the partisan politics in Washington, but offers several so-called solutions that could bring more harm than good to a growing segment of the economy – the tech industry. The “Ideas to Re-Center America” report launched today has some admirable goals on immigration and patent reform, but unfortunately misses the mark in its simplistic approach to tech competition.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has advocated for competitive markets and voiced opinions on tech industry competition issues since 1972. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“The “Ideas to Re-Center America” Report aptly notes that ‘History shows that effective antitrust enforcement can spur innovation and even the development of new economic sectors.’ CCIA saw this back in the 70s with the IBM consent decree and the breakup of AT&T in the 1980s. However, the report proposes changes to the existing U.S. antitrust norms that could seriously impair the advancement of the digital economy, have a chilling effect on innovation and the appearance of new economic sectors.

“CCIA has often sided with US regulators in cases involving tech companies over the years and appreciates the expertise and nuance the US system uses in defining markets and looking for harm to consumers. The Report’s simplistic and misleading use of market data reflects either ignorance of, or blatant disregard for, the size and complexity of our modern digital economy.  If our goal is really to maintain innovation, spur the entire economy, and grow higher paying jobs, asking the government to penalize a successful foundational economic sector, absent bad behavior or consumer harm, seems illogical.

“We do appreciate the paper’s case for real reform of the patent system. As the report points out many tech companies are spending large sums of money on patent lawsuits. Some of the suits, counter suits and preventative patent buying behavior stem from a lack of positive Congressional intervention so companies are left to battle it out in the court system.”

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