BANGKOK, THAILAND – The U.S. Department of Justice today announced the opening of a regional conference of approximately 70 key law enforcement officials from more than a dozen nations, with the aim of developing an international network targeting large-scale intellectual property (IP) crimes. The DOJ has organized the week-long gathering in Bangkok, Thailand, with the assistance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the U.S. Department of State.
High-level police and customs officials and prosecutors from the United States, China, Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam are participating in the conference, which seeks to enhance cross-border cooperation in the fight against IP theft through the establishment of an Intellectual Property Crimes Enforcement Network (IPCEN).
The IPCEN is designed to serve two primary functions. First, it will operate as a forum to exchange successful investigation and prosecution strategies in combating piracy and counterfeiting crimes. Second, the IPCEN will strengthen communication channels to promote coordinated, multinational prosecutions of the most serious offenders. In closed sessions this week, panels of law enforcement experts will share best practices and lessons learned in addressing retail counterfeiting and piracy, the mass production and distribution of counterfeit goods, Internet-based IP theft, and border enforcement.
In recognition that effective prosecution of IP crime depends heavily on cooperation between victims and law enforcement authorities, industry representatives will also address the conference regarding the scope and severity of counterfeiting crimes in Asia, and discuss ways to collectively enhance enforcement efforts.
“Protecting intellectual property rights in the United States and throughout the world is one of the highest priorities of the Department of Justice,” said Acting Attorney General Peter D. Keisler. “The development of the Intellectual Property Crimes Enforcement Network is an important step in coordinating enforcement efforts in a critical region of the world.”
“Counterfeit products not only result in harm to world economies, but also represent a serious threat to the health and safety of the people of all nations,” said James E. Finch, Assistant Director of the Cyber Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation. “We are fully committed to the IPCEN’s collaborative approach to combating serious intellectual property crimes.”
"Counterfeiting and piracy exploit borders and customs processes across the globe, resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars annually entering the dark crevices of organized criminal syndicates,” said Julie L. Myers Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “Alliances like IPCEN allow ICE and our international partners to continue to protect our collective borders and pierce the international barriers that shelter these transnational criminals and their illicit profits.”
“The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) actively participates in efforts to improve enforcement of intellectual property rights, and we are proud to be a co-organizer of this important conference of key law enforcement officials from around Asia,” said Lois Boland, Director of the Office of Intellectual Property Policy and Enforcement at the USPTO.
The IPCEN initiative reflects the Department of Justice’s continuing commitment to aggressively protect and enforce IP rights. The idea for the Conference arose from recommendations of the Department’s Task Force on Intellectual Property, which recently conducted a wide-ranging review of the Department’s enforcement efforts. Based upon this review, the Department designated an experienced federal prosecutor in the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok to serve as its IP Law Enforcement Coordinator for Asia and coordinate regional efforts to protect intellectual property rights. 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.gov.