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December 12, 2016Washington, DC, United StatesIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

Executive report lays blueprint for IP enforcement

WASHINGTON – A new report released by the Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) will guide how U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prioritizes anti-counterfeiting enforcement that protects the health and safety of consumers, shields American businesses from illegal trade practices, and dismantles domestic and international black-market criminal organizations.

The Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) for Intellectual Property Enforcement, titled “Supporting Innovation, Creativity & Enterprise: Charting a Path Ahead”, identifies overarching goals, mandated objectives and collaborative initiatives to be implemented by the ICE-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) over the next three years. The report was developed from the feedback and enforcement experience provided by the U.S. Interagency Strategic Planning Committees on IP Enforcement, chaired by the IPEC and comprised of various IPR Center member agencies, including ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S Customs and Border Protection and the FBI.

“This Strategic Plan represents a ‘call to action’ for all  nations – as well as international organizations, industry, educational institutions, and consumer protection and public interest groups – to provide forward-thinking leadership and a collaborative approach to combating illicit IP-based activities,” said White House IPEC Daniel H. Marti. “Together, we can enhance our enforcement programs and policies for the modern era, and ensure that collective efforts to curb illicit trade in counterfeit and pirated goods, online commercial piracy, trade secret theft, and other acts of IP infringement are maintained as a top priority.”

The JSP emphasizes the importance of state and local governments, international law-enforcement authorities and the private sector in protecting intellectual property rights, and lays out four primary goals to be achieved by 2020:

  1. Enhance National understanding of the economic and social impacts flowing from the misappropriation of trade secrets and the infringement of IPR.
  2. Promote a safe and secure Internet by minimizing counterfeiting and IP-infringing activity online.
  3. Secure and facilitate lawful trade.
  4. Enhance domestic strategies and global collaboration in support of effective IP enforcement.

The report does not provide a summary of positive steps IPR Center partners have taken over the last few years to improve IP enforcement, but acknowledges that increased seizure statistics, high-profile arrests and convictions and creating attaché offices overseas have been major accomplishments. The JSP also supports the strengthening of government-private partnerships in order to conduct effective enforcement online, which criminal syndicates are exploiting to sell fake medicines and automotive parts and spread viruses and malware to unsuspecting online shoppers.

“The steadfast support of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator has been a major component in the successful IP enforcement IPR Center member agencies have recently conducted,” said IPR Center Director Bruce Foucart. “The blueprint the Joint Strategic Plan so clearly illustrates will allow federal law-enforcement to more effectively and efficiently investigate piracy by shifting resources to key enforcement priorities in order to meet the critical objectives outlined in the report.”

Founded in 2000, the IPR Center – formally codified in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 – is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. The center uses the expertise of its 23 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions, and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters.