This report provides background on intellectual property rights (IPR) and discusses the role of U.S. international trade policy in enhancing IPR protection and enforcement abroad. IPR are legal rights granted by governments to encourage innovation and creative output by ensuring that creators reap the benefits of their inventions or works. They may take forms such as patents, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, or geographical indications (GIs). Congress has constitutional responsibility for legislating and overseeing IPR and international trade policy. Responsibility for developing IPR policy, engaging in IPR-related international negotiations, and enforcing IPR laws cuts across multiple U.S. government agencies.