Small businesses are an important component of the American economy. In fact, the jobs created by small businesses could assist the United States in overcoming its most recent economic downturn. Paradoxically, though, the failure rate of small businesses is quite high. Although various factors contribute to this high failure rate, one of the factors the U.S. government has focused on has been the disproportionate impact that intellectual property laws, policies, and their enforcement may have on small businesses. While the U.S. government has paid attention to the impact of domestic intellectual property laws on small businesses, the government has paid little attention to the impact that the implementation of international intellectual property obligations may have on small businesses. This disconnect threatens to undo the efforts of the U.S. government, as implementation of these obligations in the United States pose similar hurdles to success for small businesses. One recent example of this disconnect and potential for serious harm to small businesses is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), where the U.S. government has seemingly all but ignored small businesses. This Article uses ACTA as an example of how the U.S. government should be analyzing and negotiating international intellectual property agreements with an eye toward the impact on small businesses, which would thereby resolve the disconnect and create a coherent policy approach.

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