WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today announced the appointment of an Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator (IPLEC) to serve in Bangkok, Thailand and coordinate enforcement efforts in key areas of Asia.
Attorney General Gonzales appointed federal prosecutor Christopher P. Sonderby of San Jose, California to serve as the coordinator for the Asian region. Sonderby is an experienced Assistant United States Attorney who specialized in intellectual property prosecutions at the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in San Jose and Sacramento. For the past two years, he has served as the head of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Unit in the Northern District of California, where he led a team of specially-trained prosecutors who focused on intellectual property and high-tech offenses. Sonderby will begin serving as the Department of Justice’s Legal Attache to Thailand and the IPLEC for the Asian region in January 2006.
The designation of an IPLEC in Asia was a key recommendation of the Department of Justice’s Task Force on Intellectual Property, which recognized the importance of the region for intellectual property enforcement efforts. Based on the Task Force’s recommendation, the IPLEC will focus on:
Coordinating investigations and prosecutions of intellectual property offenders located in the region; Developing relationships with foreign law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in the area; Providing legal and technical assistance to foreign law enforcement agencies on intellectual property enforcement; Assisting federal prosecutors in the United States working on intellectual property cases involving Asia; and Examining intellectual property crime trends in the region.
“Protecting intellectual property rights in the United States and throughout the world is one of the highest priorities of the Department of Justice,” said Attorney General Gonzales. “My appointment of an Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinator for Asia is an important step in coordinating enforcement efforts in a critical region of the world.”
The Intellectual Property Task Force was created in 2004 by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to examine the Department’s efforts to protect the intellectual property rights of American citizens and businesses through criminal, civil, and antitrust enforcement; legislation; international coordination; and prevention. In October 2004, the Task Force issued a comprehensive report with recommendations to increase the Department’s effectiveness in protecting intellectual property rights and enforcing federal intellectual property laws. The designation of an IPLEC is part of the Department’s ongoing commitment to protecting intellectual property rights and implementing the Task Force’s recommendations.
Copies of the report of the Department of Justice’s Task Force on Intellectual Property are available on the Department’s website at www.usdoj.gov or at www.cybercrime.govhttp://www.cybercrime.gov. For more information regarding the Intellectual Property Task Force, contact Vice Chairman and Executive Director Arif Alikhan at Arif.Alikhan2@usdoj.gov.