Intellectual property-intensive industries represent a substantial share of our economy and support millions of jobs. Ensuring the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights requires a multi-faceted, whole of government approach, one that maximizes on partnerships between Federal agencies, State and local governments, private industry, trade associations, civil society, international and regional governmental organizations, and foreign governments. Since coming on board as the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) six months ago, I’ve had the opportunity to join firsthand in the Administration’s efforts to better protect the integrity of the drug supply chain, combat cyber-enabled misappropriation of trade secrets, and engage in stakeholder outreach on current challenges in IP enforcement as well as opportunities for enhanced cooperation.
Today, I am proud to share a quick update on recent initiatives and commitments announced by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that underscore the Administration’s continued efforts to ensure the United States remains a global leader in protecting innovation and creativity.
Emphasizing DOJ’s commitment to protecting the Nation’s intellectual property and the need to pursue such efforts in coordination with entrepreneurs and business leaders on the cutting edge of American industry, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced earlier this month a new FBI-led collaborative and expansive strategy to more closely partner with businesses in intellectual property enforcement efforts.
The new strategy builds upon previous DOJ efforts and will make enforcement efforts more effective by working with industry partners. As part of the strategy, the FBI will partner with third-party marketplaces to ensure they have the right analytical tools and techniques to combat intellectual property concerns on their websites. The Bureau also will serve as a bridge between brand owners and third-party marketplaces in an effort to help law enforcement and countries better identify, prioritize, and disrupt the manufacturing, distribution, advertising and sale of counterfeit products.
The same day, Attorney General Lynch also announced an additional $3.2 million in grants to aid state and local law enforcement for addressing intellectual property crimes. Since 2009, the Justice Department has invested nearly $14.8 million for 41 task forces across the country. These grants have supported the arrest of 3,522 individuals, the dismantling of 1,882 piracy or counterfeiting organizations and the seizure of $266,164,989 in counterfeit property, other property and currency in conjunction with IP enforcement operations.
The Justice Department’s work to protect the Nation’s intellectual property is critical to ensuring that Americans continue to benefit from an economic climate that is competitive, fair and secure. We applaud the Justice Department’s new strategy on intellectual property enforcement and the ongoing work of the Justice Department’s Intellectual Property Task Force chaired by Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates.
However, there is still more work to be done. Moving forward, I look forward to working with the Justice Department and other Federal agencies and stakeholders as we develop and implement the new 2016-2019 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, a 3-year strategic plan for advancing our intellectual property enforcement and policy priorities. Together, the Administration will continue to work to celebrate and protect the innovation and creativity of the American people.
Danny Marti is the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.