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U.S. Government Plans For Increased IP Enforcement

A Department of Commerce report highlights an increased need to protect small and medium-sized businesses here and abroad.
The Department of Commerce said it will step up efforts to protect intellectual property this year.

In a report sent to the White House and Congress this week, the department said that the federal government will try to strengthen IP protection for small and medium-sized enterprises domestically and overseas, step up border seizures of goods that violate IP protections, and target groups and countries identified for IP violations.

Federal agencies charged with protecting intellectual property will try to help small and medium-sized enterprises finance foreign IP registrations and evaluate assets through audits. They will also expand outreach programs to address IP issues and explain economic, safety, and health impacts from counterfeit goods.

The Department of Homeland Security will expand risk modeling and audits to increase IP enforcement at U.S. borders and focus their efforts on seizures that will address health, safety, and security concerns, according to the report.

The Department of Justice will develop more international IP prosecutions and investigations, step up efforts to fight organized international crime rings trafficking in stolen and counterfeit merchandise, and increase support for international trading partners. The plan will focus on developing economies and countries that the United States has identified as "posing especially strong challenges to U.S. business competitiveness," the report said.

Federal agencies also will increase outreach so businesses are aware of all the government resources to help them with IP education and protection. They'll also expand industry partnerships to support global IP enforcement efforts.

Finally, the agencies will try to complete an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and strengthen IP enforcement partnerships within the G8 and other international groups to improve IP protection and enforcement in China, Russia, and other countries.

International efforts also will include funding and support for foreign law enforcement training, technical assistance, and the creation of long-term strategic training plans.

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