Attorney General Highlights Department Of Justice's Efforts To Enforce And Protect Intellectual Property Rights
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales highlighted the results of the Progress Report of the Department of Justice's Intellectual Property Task Force at the United States Chamber of Commerce's Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy program. He specifically announced that the Task Force has fully implemented all 31 recommendations contained in its 2004 report, and in some cases, went well beyond those recommendations.
Among the highlights of the 2006 Progress Report, the Attorney General noted that the Task Force increased the number of prosecutors in the field by not only creating the five additional Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Units recommended in the 2004 report, but also by going well beyond that recommendation and creating an additional seven CHIP Units, thereby nearly doubling the number of CHIP Units (from 13 to 25) in less than two years. The seven cities most recently announced in this expansion are Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Denver; Detroit; Newark, N. J.; New Haven, Conn.; and Philadelphia.. The five additional Units created since 2004 are in the District of Columbia; Nashville, Tenn.; Orlando; Pittsburgh; and Sacramento.
The Progress Report also emphasizes that the Department of Justice has deployed an experienced federal prosecutor as an Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator (IPLEC) to Southeast Asia and secured funding for an IPLEC in Eastern Europe to handle regional efforts to enforce and protect intellectual property rights. Among other duties, the IPLEC will assist in providing training and technical assistance to foreign prosecutors, investigators, and judges regarding intellectual property investigations and prosecutions.
In addition to these measures, the 2006 Progress Report underscores many critical successes and improved law enforcement tools in the fight against intellectual property theft, including:
- Dismantling international criminal organizations that commit intellectual property offenses;
- Expanding international training and technical assistance efforts;
- Increasing the number of extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties that include intellectual property offenses;
- Prosecuting intellectual property cases involving a threat to public health and safety;
- Carefully monitoring and vigorously protecting the right of victims to pursue intellectual property cases in civil courts;
- Organizing victims' conferences on intellectual property awareness; and
- Creating innovative intellectual property educational programs for America's youth.
While successfully implementing each of the Task Force recommendations, the Department also exceeded the goals and recommendations called for in the 2004 Report in many areas, including: -Increasing the number of defendants prosecuted for intellectual property offenses by 98 percent
- Transmitting to Congress the President's Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2005;
- Working with the United States Trade Representative to improve language regarding intellectual property protections in Free Trade Agreements and other international treaties;
- Publishing a nearly 400-page comprehensive resource manual for federal prosecutors on prosecuting intellectual property crimes;
- Filing 13 amicus, or "friend of the court," briefs in the Supreme Court in cases involving intellectual property disputes; and
- Partnering with the United States Patent & Trademark Office to dedicate $900,000 over three years for piracy prevention efforts with non-profit educational institutions.
As these achievements indicate, the Department of Justice has made intellectual property enforcement and protection a high priority, and through the implementations of the Task Force, the Department of Justice will continue to protect the country's vast intellectual property resources.
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