18 December 2017Copyright

DoJ launches IP enforcement network

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has launched a network of IP enforcement co-ordinators and deployed specialist prosecutors to address the growing problem of transnational IP crime.

In partnership with the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the DoJ announced the network on Friday, December 15.

The Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator (IPLEC) programme was created in 2006, with the first IPLEC stationed in Bangkok, Thailand. Now, a network of five prosecutors—posted in Abuja, Nigeria; Bucharest, Romania; São Paulo, Brazil; Bangkok, Thailand; and Hong Kong—has been launched.

The network assesses the capacity of law enforcement authorities to enforce IP rights, delivers training to investigators and prosecutors, and assists in developing/strengthening institutions dedicated to enforcing IP rights.

The DoJ added that recent studies have concluded that international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is a multi-billion dollar industry globally.

In February, the International Trademark Association and the International Chamber of Commerce Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy revealed that the global impact of piracy and counterfeiting will hit $4.2 trillion by 2022. Frontier Economics produced the report.

Earlier this year, an IPLEC-mentored team of Brazilian law enforcement officials launched a series of enforcement actions on a “notorious market” in São Paulo designated by the US Trade Representative.

They seized approximately 880 tonnes of counterfeit and contraband goods worth around $138 million, and the market was ultimately closed.

John Cronan, acting assistant attorney general of the criminal division, said: “IP rights form the foundation of American innovation and protect the American public from products that pose risks to health and safety. The protection of these rights requires robust international cooperation and coordination.”

He added that the network is dedicated to developing the capacity of the US’s foreign partners to combat IP violations and building relationships critical for that cooperation.

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