Sensenbrenner Asks Chu to Explain Comments on Intellectual Property

April 7, 2009

Sensenbrenner Asks Chu to Explain Comments on Intellectual Property

‘Your Statements Could Already Stifle Innovation’

Washington, D.C.,  - U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu to clarify the Obama administration’s position on intellectual property rights for energy technology.

According to news reports, during a recent tour of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Chu said: “So any area like that I think is where we should work very hard in a very collaborative way — by very collaborative I mean share all intellectual property as much as possible.”

The New York Times reported that Steve Fludder, head of General Electric’s Ecomagination division, “aggressively refuted” Chu’s statement. “Why would anybody invest in anything that they would have to just give away?” Fludder was reported saying.

“Left unexplained, your statements could already stifle innovation,” Sensenbrenner wrote to Chu on April 3. He said that if intellectual property protections are waived, there would be no technologies to share with developing countries.

“The ingenuity of the American people has always been an essential part of our strong character, and we should not begin squelching their innovation through the free dissemination of their labor,” Sensenbrenner said.

Click here for the letter to Secretary Chu.

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