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Overseas U.S. Government Personnel Involved in Efforts to Protect and Enforce Intellectual Property Rights
Loren Yager (au)
Intellectual property (IP) plays a significant role in the U.S. economy, and the U.S. is an acknowledged leader in its creation. IP is a category of legal rights that grant owners certain exclusive rights to intangible assets or products of the human intellect, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; and symbols, names, images, and designs. In its June 2008 testimony, GAO reported that U.S. intellectual property rights holders must compete with the global illicit market that is being spurred by economic incentives such as low barriers to entry into counterfeiting and piracy, high profits, and limited legal sanctions if caught. GAO further noted that tech. has facilitated the reproduction and distribution of some IP-violating products. Moreover, intellectual property protection in parts of the world is inadequate. As a result, U.S. goods are subject to widespread piracy and counterfeiting in many countries, resulting in significant economic losses. In addition, many IP-violating products, such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals or auto parts, have the potential to threaten public health and safety in the U.S. and abroad. A wide range of fed. agencies are involved in efforts to protect and enforce intellectual property rights with personnel posted domestically and overseas. In order to improve the coord. of the U.S. govt.'s IP activities, Congress passed the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008. Title III of that legislation created a new interagency intellectual property enforcement advisory comm. composed of representatives of specified depts. and agencies involved in IP enforcement. It authorizes the Pres. to appoint an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) position within the Exec. Office of the Pres. to chair the new advisory comm. Among other things, the IPEC is to lead the comm. in the devt. of a Joint Strategic Plan to reduce counterfeiting and other types of IP infringement in the U.S. and overseas, and to assist in the implementation of the Joint Strategic Plan when requested by advisory comm. members. Illus.
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