The White House has just reported that President Bush today signed the PRO-IP bill, S. 3325, which improves the federal coordination of enforcement of intellectual property protection laws. The Administration had some objections to the legislation, so the signing is good news, indeed.
The NAM had made this a “key vote” issue in Congress. From our letter to the House:
Intellectual property (IP) is the cornerstone of our nation’s economy – U.S. IP is valued at between $5 trillion and $5.5 trillion, equivalent to approximately 45 percent of U.S. GDP. Unfortunately, IP theft in the U.S is responsible for more than $250 billion a year in lost sales and the loss of a significant number of high-paying manufacturing jobs. As such, it is a vital matter for manufacturers, as well as for U.S. workers and the government.
Moreover, the effect of piracy and counterfeiting on consumers poses a far greater concern. Counterfeiting often poses serious health and safety risks to the general public through sub-standard pirated products, including automobile parts, airplane parts, food, medical devices, electrical supplies and pharmaceuticals, to name but a few.
As a founding member of the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, the NAM has worked closely with Congress, policymakers and stakeholders in all sectors affected by IP theft to confront this serious challenge. NAM member companies believe strongly that by improving the coordination of federal government IP enforcement resources, as well as expanding authorities and improving enforcement practices at the international, federal, state and local levels, the PRO-IP Act will strengthen our manufacturing economy.
UPDATE (5:10 p.m.): The White House has just e-mailed out a fact sheet highlight the Administration’s support for innovation and its efforts to combat global IP piracy and counterfeiting. It’s 5:10 p.m. on a federal holiday. Sigh.
Anyway, here it is …
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release October 13, 2008
Protecting American Innovation
President Bush Has Worked To Ensure That There Is A Level Playing Field Worldwide For American Businesses And Innovators, Free Of Counterfeiting And Piracy
Today, President Bush signed the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO IP) Act. This legislation helps protect the rights of America’s consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs by strengthening both our civil and criminal laws against counterfeiting and piracy. Specifically, the Act increases statutory damage awards in civil counterfeiting cases, it strengthens remedies available in the prosecution of criminal cases involving counterfeiting and piracy, it enhances resources (personnel, training, and equipment) for Department of Justice programs that combat IP theft, and makes permanent the Administration’s Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!) Initiative and its inter-agency IP coordination efforts. The PRO-IP Act protects the work of American innovators, strengthens the rule of law, and will help keep American families safe.
Ø Counterfeiting hurts businesses, innovators, workers, consumers, government, and our national security. In recent years, counterfeiting has grown rapidly. Counterfeiting costs America hundreds of billions of dollars a year and has harmful effects throughout the economy. Fake products can expose consumers to serious health and safety risks. Government loses out on tax revenues and is forced to divert law enforcement resources. Terrorist networks use counterfeit sales to finance their operations.
Ø The Administration is protecting intellectual property with a bold initiative called STOP! – The Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy. In October 2004, the Bush Administration announced STOP!, which is led by the White House and brings together the Departments of Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, State, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. STOP! is the most comprehensive initiative ever advanced to fight global piracy and counterfeiting by systematically dismantling networks that manufacture and distribute intellectual property rights (IPR) infringing goods, blocking pirated and counterfeit works at our borders, helping American businesses secure and enforce their rights around the world, and collaborating with our trading partners to ensure the fight against fakes is global.
- The PRO IP Act broadly reflects the principles of STOP! and helps to reinforce and codify the Administration’s accomplishments in protecting and strengthening the rights of American workers, consumers, and innovators.
- In July 2005, the President appointed the first ever U.S. Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement to lead the STOP! Initiative under the framework of the National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council.
Ø The Administration established the StopFakes.gov website and STOP! Hotline (1-866-999-HALT) to provide individuals and businesses the information they need to protect their intellectual property rights. The website includes IP toolkits to guide businesses through securing and enforcing their rights in key markets around the globe, including China, Russia, India, Brazil, Mexico, Korea, Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia, and the European Union. The hotline is staffed by attorneys from the Commerce Department’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, who counsel businesses on how to protect their IPR and work with callers on how to best resolve problems.
Over The Past Eight Years, The Administration Has Led The Global Fight Against Counterfeiting And Piracy
Ø The Administration has focused its efforts on China, the global epicenter of counterfeiting and piracy, through the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) and the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED). The Administration has also brought actions to enforce IP rights under our trade agreements. In April 2007, the Office of the Trade Representative filed cases against China in the World Trade Organization for inadequate enforcement of IP rights.
Ø In 2004, the Commerce Department posted the first IP attaché at Embassy Beijing. Since then, the program has grown to include eight attachés in six embassies worldwide. The Justice Department has dedicated legal attachés at two embassies to focus on IP enforcement.
Ø The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the first ever joint investigation with Chinese law enforcement counterparts. Operation “Summer Solstice” was the first ever joint investigation by U.S. federal law enforcement agencies with Chinese authorities. “Summer Solstice” resulted in 25 individual arrests and the seizure of counterfeit goods totaling over $500 million, the second largest counterfeit seizure in monetary value ever.
Ø The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice have seen significant improvements in measures of IP enforcement increase over the last five years. The Department of Homeland Security reports seizures totaling $200 million in FY2007, a 27 percent increase from the previous year. The Department of Justice reports a 33 percent increase of criminal cases involving violations of intellectual property rights in the last two years.
Ø In 2005 the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Patent & Trademark Office created the Global Intellectual Property Academy (GIPA). GIPA is a one-of-a kind education and training facility dedicated to educating and training foreign government officials on IPR protections and enforcement.
Ø In October 2007, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative launched efforts to negotiate an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – a groundbreaking agreement dedicated to advancing global leadership in the fight against IP theft.
Ø The Administration has pursued collaborative engagements with key trading partners throughout the last four years, including most prominently the European Union, Mexico, and Canada. These engagements have achieved significant results in coordination, particularly in law enforcement and enforcement of IP rights by customs authorities.
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