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22 September 2005

U.S. Unveils New Measures To Protect Intellectual Property

Programs call for experts in key markets, training for foreign officials

The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced new initiatives aimed at better protecting the intellectual property rights (IPR) of U.S. businesses abroad.

These initiatives include the appointment of IPR experts to monitor and recommend improvements for IPR protection in Brazil, China, India, Russia and other markets where the illegal copying of compact discs (CDs), digital versatile discs (DVDs) and other forms of piracy are rampant, according to the department’s September 21 news release.

Other programs will provide training for foreign government officials on global IPR issues, Commerce said.

“The Bush administration is committed to stopping trade in pirated and counterfeit goods,” Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said in the release.

In July, the administration announced the appointment of a coordinator for IPR enforcement and, in 2004, it unveiled a comprehensive strategy to break the criminal networks trafficking in pirated and counterfeit goods, stop trade in these goods and help small businesses secure and enforce their rights in overseas markets.

For additional information on U.S. policy, see Protecting Intellectual Property Rights.

Following is the text of the news release:

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The Department of Commerce
[Los Angeles, California]
September 21, 2005


Gutierrez: Theft of Intellectual Property Won’t be Tolerated

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez today unveiled new Bush administration initiatives to fight intellectual property theft during visits with High Tech industry executives in Silicon Valley, California and movie industry executives in Los Angeles, California.

The new initiatives include the appointment of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Experts in key overseas countries including Brazil, China, India and Russia, a new Small Business Outreach program to educate U.S. small businesses on how to protect their intellectual property rights, and a Global Intellectual Property Academy that will provide training programs for foreign government officials on global IPR issues.

“The protection of intellectual property is vital to our economic growth and global competitiveness and it has major consequences in our ongoing effort to promote security and stability around the world,” Gutierrez said. “The Bush administration is committed to stopping trade in pirated and counterfeit goods. Theft of intellectual property is not tolerated and will not be tolerated.”

Gutierrez announced that the IPR experts will have legal and technical expertise to effectively advocate for improved IPR protection.

The Small-Business Outreach Initiative is an ongoing series of two-day seminars throughout the year across the United States to educate U.S. small businesses on how to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights domestically and abroad.

Gutierrez also discussed the Global IPR Academy that will work closely with other federal government agencies to offer training on IPR issues to officials from developing countries including judges, prosecutors, patent, trademark and copyright officials, and foreign policy makers in effort to further raise awareness of IPR theft worldwide.

In July, the Bush administration also announced the senior-level appointment of a Coordinator of Intellectual Property Enforcement to help combat intellectual property violations.

IP-based businesses, such as software, bio-technology and the entertainment industries, now represent the largest single sector of the U.S. economy. IP theft costs U.S. businesses an estimated $250 billion per year, and 750,000 American jobs. The World Customs Organization and Interpol estimate the total global trade in illegitimate goods increased in 2004 to more than $600 billion.

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