A cross-industry Partnership for American Innovation

On Thursday, Microsoft announced it has joined the newly formed Partnership for American Innovation. The partnership includes Apple, DuPont, Ford, GE, IBM and Pfizer — a diverse group of industry-leading companies committed to strengthening a patent system that promotes a positive climate for technology innovation. David Kappos, former director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, is senior adviser to the group.

In the current public discussion about patents, we must take care to avoid trading long-term protection for inventors for short term gains. That would risk America’s position as a global innovation powerhouse. In reality, IP protection helps companies of all sizes compete in a global marketplace. It is responsible for $5 trillion in U.S. private sector output and 40 million American jobs in industries such as technology, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

Many of the transformative technologies we’ve seen emerge over the last few years were made possible by a patent system that incentivizes innovation and research. Last year alone, Microsoft made more than $10 billion in R&D investments—and Microsoft will continue to make this kind of big bet in part because we know patent protection ensures our investment is a smart business decision.

A strong, effective and balanced patent system is important to our economy, and we look forward to illustrating that through the Partnership for American Innovation.

For more information about the partnership, please see an article in today’s Financial Times and visit www.partnershipforamericaninnovation.org.

About the Author

Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft

Horacio Gutiérrez is Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel in charge of the Microsoft products and services group (PSG). In this role, he oversees the team that provides front-line legal support to all of Microsoft's engineering and marketing teams, including Devices and Studios, Applications, Services and Dynamics, Operating Systems, Cloud and Enterprise, and Marketing. Previously, Horacio led the worldwide intellectual property group, including the development, maintenance and enforcement of the company’s IP portfolio, inbound and outbound patent licensing, and IP legal and public policy strategy. Prior to his eight years leading the IP group, Mr. Gutiérrez was based in Paris, where he was Microsoft's associate general counsel for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Mr. Gutiérrez started his career at Microsoft in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. at the company’s Latin American regional headquarters, where he was responsible for commercial and corporate matters for the region.