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Justice Department Focuses on Efforts to Protect Intellectual Property Rights
Attorney General Urges Congress to Enact Important New Legislation
WASHINGTON - Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today highlighted the
Department’s ongoing efforts to protect intellectual property rights,
and announced a comprehensive legislative proposal entitled the
Property Protection Act of 2007,” before members of the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy.
In addition to the proposed legislation, the Department’s ongoing
to combating intellectual property includes measures for implementing
resources, and aggressively prosecuting counterfeiters, each elements of the
government-wide Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP) Initiative.
Implementing Resources to Protect Intellectual Property
In June 2006, the Department’s Task Force on Intellectual Property issued
a Progress Report outlining its progress in implementing 31 recommendations
to improve IP protection. The task force’s recommendations, and
additional Department efforts include the following:
- An improved focus on international outreach and capacity-building
2006 alone, prosecutors in the Criminal Division trained over 3,000
investigators, and judges from 107 countries; established an IP Law
Coordinator for Asia in Bangkok, Thailand; and secured funding to
a second IPLEC position for Eastern Europe in Sofia, Bulgaria.
- Expansion of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP)
of federal prosecutors dedicated to the prosecution of high-tech and IP
total number of CHIP prosecutors has increased to 230 (with at least one
each U.S. Attorney’s Office), and the number of specialized CHIP Units
has nearly doubled in the past two years to 25 cities nationwide.
- Focused outreach to the private sector. The Department has hosted a
of training conferences for IP rights holders that educate them on, among
other things, the investigation and prosecution of federal IP cases, the
for permissible cooperation and assistance in federal investigations by
rights holders, and procedures and tips for how best to report criminal
of the copyright, trademark, and trade secret laws. Additional
are planned for 2007.
Effectively Prosecuting IP Thieves and Counterfeiters
The Department_s Criminal Division, along with U.S. Attorneys Offices across
the country in the past few years, have developed a strong record of
violators of existing IP law, which includes:
- Substantial increases in federal investigations and prosecutions of IP
- In 2006, the Department convicted 57% more defendants of criminal
and trademark offenses than in 2005;
- In 2005, the Department prosecuted nearly twice as many defendants as
it had in 2004;
- The FBI arrested 40 percent more defendants in IP cases in 2006 than
had the previous year.
- Criminal Division prosecutors have obtained pleas or sentences in 22
intellectual property cases, in the last four weeks alone.
- A number of successful operations in recent years. These include
FastLink, the largest and most successful global online piracy enforcement
initiative ever conducted, which has resulted in the execution of more
120 searches and arrests in 12 countries, the seizure of more than 200
the complete dismantlement of 30 Internet distribution sites, and the
of hundreds of thousands of counterfeit software titles valued at more
$50 million. To date, Operation Fastlink has obtained 50 total
a milestone never before achieved in an online piracy prosecution.
- Other recent prosecutions by the Criminal Division have included the
ever plea of an individual extradited from a foreign country for online
piracy; the conviction of four men who sold more than $19 million in
software on eBay; and the sentencing of a Utah man to 24 months_
for operating a for-profit piracy website that caused up to $2.5 million
losses to the software industry.
The Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007
Today the Department submitted to Congress the Intellectual Property
Act of 2007 that would enhance the Department_s ability to prosecute
and protect the intellectual property rights of citizens and industries.
its many provisions, the Act includes measures that would:
- Increase the maximum penalty for counterfeiting offenses from 10 years
20 years imprisonment where the defendant knowingly or recklessly causes
attempts to cause serious bodily injury, and increase the maximum penalty
to life imprisonment where the defendant knowingly or recklessly causes or
attempts to cause death;
- Provide stronger penalties for repeat-offenders of the copyright laws;
- Implement broad forfeiture reforms to ensure the ability to forfeit
derived from or used in the commission of criminal intellectual property
- Strengthen restitution provisions for certain intellectual property
(e.g., criminal copyright and DMCA offenses);
- Ensure that the exportation and transhipment of copyright-infringing
is a crime, just as the exportation of counterfeit goods is now