Obama Administration Releases IP Enforcement Plan

  • Jan 25 2017
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  • Category: News

What steps if the federal government taking to protect intellectual property?

In December, the Obama administration released a three-year plan for the protection of intellectual property. The U.S. Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement is particularly aimed at online counterfeiting and piracy.

Developed by the White House Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordiantor (IPEC), the plan is a comprehensive strategy that calls for a collaborative effort among regulatory agencies, industry groups, educational institutions, public interest and consumer protection groups. The plan lays out a framework for understanding the social and economic impacts of IP infringement and trade secret theft while facilitating trade.  

“The protection of intellectual property rights is about promoting economic prosperity and supporting jobs, opening new markets for U.S. goods and services, and fostering innovation and investments in research and development,” said U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Daniel Marti.  

The plan notes that the ill-gotten gains of counterfeiters and pirates that infringe on the IP rights of famous brand names is “staggering.” In particular, there is widespread digital piracy as well as the theft and sale DVDs and CDs. The plan calls for enhancing IP protection in a number of ways and working with foreign banks to disrupt the financing of illegal trade activity.

In addition, the plan is intended to promote innovation while confronting malicious cyber activities such as trade secret theft. In this regard, Marti said that the misappropriation of trade secrets “threatens American businesses, undermines our national security and places the health of the U.S. economy in jeopardy.”

Lastly, the plan addresses needed steps to improve the notice and takedown processes of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The IPEC is also considering ways to mitigate abuses of the domain name registration system such as domain name hopping which involves changing domain names after one has been suspended. Counterfeiters often engage in this tactic, and a variety of others, in order to avoid detection.
“We must work together to 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,” said Marti.

The Takeaway

The success of the strategic plan ultimately hinges upon international cooperation, particularly in regions and industries where IP infringement and trade secret theft is known to occur. It remains to be seen how effective this effort will be or what policies the incoming Trump administration will pursue regarding IP protection. In the meantime, any business that is looking to enforce its IP rights is well advised to engage the services of a leading intellectual property law firm.