NEMA Calls on Congress to Fund Anti-Counterfeiting Programs

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association has called on Congress to appropriate funds for implementing anti-counterfeiting programs authorized in The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act (Public Law 110-403), also known as PRO-IP, which was approved last year.

The new law not only promotes coordination among domestic and foreign government agencies but also brings focused law enforcement resources to bear on efforts to combat counterfeiting. NEMA (www.nema.org) actively supported this legislation and provided input to Congress because, according to Board Chairman Stuart Thorn, the law's provisions are vital to domestic electrical manufacturers, whom NEMA represents.

"It is critical that Congress begin funding the PRO-IP programs so that the U.S. does not fall further behind in fighting anti-counterfeiting," Thorn said. "The domestic extension cord industry, for example, has disappeared because of unfair competition from substandard, counterfeit electrical cords that falsely contain certification marks."

Counterfeiting of certain electrical products has been on the rise as evidenced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that rank electrical products fifth in counterfeit imports, Thorn added. As Congress addresses funding for programs with the start of the 2010 fiscal year on October 1, 2009, Thorn emphasized that particular programs needing funding include:

  • $15 million for 10 additional operational agents of the FBI designated to support IP investigation and forensic work
  • $25 million in the Department of Justice to make grants to eligible states or local law enforcement agencies for training, prevention, and prosecution of cases
  • $1 million in the Executive Office of the President for a new national coordinator and four staff positions
  • $5 million to provide investigation and prosecution resources at U.S. Attorney General offices

NEMA's approximately 450 member companies make products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end use of electricity in utility, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. The association's Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) Division represents manufacturers of medical diagnostic imaging equipment including MRI, CT, x-ray, and ultrasound products. Worldwide sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Va., NEMA also has offices in Beijing and Mexico City.

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