2008 IP Report Documents Health and Safety Enforcement Focus

Intellectual property prosecutions and seizures were up significantly in 2007, and the five federal agencies working together on IP enforcement have redoubled their focus on the public health and safety implications of counterfeit goods, U.S. Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement Chris Israel said Feb. 11 when he released the Bush administration's "2008 Annual Report to the President and Congress on Coordination of Intellectual Property Enforcement and Protection." His office heads the National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council (NIPLECC), which consists of the Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, Justice, and State and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The 206-page report is available at www.stopfakes.gov/pdf/2008_NIPLECC_Report_and_Appendices_Final.pdf.

The annual report lists accomplishments of the past year and sets priorities for the coming year for protecting and enforcing American IP rights, both domestically and abroad, which have an estimated value of more than $5 trillion. "Creativity and innovation are the lifeblood of the American economy, and intellectual property protection is vital to ensure our economic health now and for the future," said Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. "The Bush administration recognizes the importance of IP rights and is dealing with counterfeiting and piracy through strong enforcement here at home and increased engagement abroad. We realize there's more work to be done and will work to meet the goals outlined in the report."

The Justice Department filed 217 IP cases in FY2007, a 7 percent increase from FH2006 and a 33 percent increase from FY2005 (169 cases). In FY2007, 287 defendants were sentenced for IP crimes, which is 35 percent more than the prior year and 92 percent more than in FY2005. DHS said the estimated value of the goods seized by border agents rose by approximately 27 percent to approximately $200 million.

"The record increases in intellectual property enforcement carried out by U.S. law enforcement and other NIPLECC agencies during the past year prove the importance and effectiveness of our coordinated efforts," Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher said. "The Department of Justice is committed to enhancing our already substantial efforts to address this growing problem."

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