IP Task Force Members include the Assistant Attorney Generals (or equivalent) for the following components:
- Antitrust Division (ATR)
- Civil Division (CIV)
- Criminal Division (CRM)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- National Security Division (NSD)
- Office of Justice Programs (OJP)
- United States Attorneys Offices/Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA)
The mission of the Antitrust Division is to promote economic competition through enforcing and providing guidance on antitrust laws and principles. Consumers and the economy as a whole benefit from the competition and innovation that result from consistent application of sound antitrust principles to intellectual property rights. The Division accomplishes its mission by enforcing the Federal antitrust laws against illegal collusive or exclusionary conduct while supporting the incentives to innovate created by intellectual property rights; promoting the procompetitive use of intellectual property rights through guidelines, appellate briefs, policy statements, reports, hearings, workshops, and speeches; and actively engaging with our foreign counterparts and multilateral organizations to promote application of competition laws to intellectual property rights that is based on analysis of competitive effects, not domestic or industrial policy goals.
The Civil Division serves a critical role in protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights and in protecting the public interest in the proper functioning of the intellectual property laws. In the intellectual property field as elsewhere, the Division’s principal function is to represent the United States, federal agencies, and federal officials in civil litigation, both as a party and as an amicus curiae. In conjunction with the Office of the Solicitor General, Civil Division plays a leading role in formulating and presenting the views of the United States on intellectual property matters in response to invitations from the Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit, and other courts. In addition, Civil Division attorneys participate in outreach and training programs to promote the protection of intellectual property rights and combat trade in counterfeit goods. The components of the Civil Division principally involved in intellectual property matters are the Intellectual Property Section of the Commercial Litigation Branch, the Consumer Protection Branch, and the Appellate Staff.
The Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) pursues three overarching goals: to deter and disrupt computer and intellectual property (IP) crime, to guide the proper collection of electronic evidence by investigators and prosecutors, and to provide technical and legal advice and assistance on these issues to agents and prosecutors in the U.S. and around the world. CCIPS accomplishes its mission by pursuing and coordinating investigations and prosecutions, and helping others to do so; by engaging in activities that build the international legal and operational environment that allows for successful investigations and prosecutions; by providing expert legal and technical advice and support to the Department, investigative agencies, and other executive branch agencies; and by developing and advocating for policies and legislation relating to computer crime, IP crime, and collection of electronic evidence. CCIPS’s work often entails close coordination on national security, intelligence, and international issues.
Preventing intellectual property theft is a priority of the FBI’s criminal investigative program. We specifically focus on the theft of trade secrets and infringements on products that can impact consumers’ health and safety, such as counterfeit aircraft, car, and electronic parts. Key to our success is linking the considerable resources and efforts of the private sector with law enforcement partners on local, state, federal, and international levels.
The mission of the National Security Division is to carry out the Department's highest priority: to combat terrorism and other threats to national security. With respect to intellectual property, NSD’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section works with the FBI, DHS, and U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country to investigate, prosecute, and otherwise disrupt economic espionage and export control offenses, and the Office of Intelligence provides legal support to the FBI and other members the Intelligence Community in conducting surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, including in investigations relating to the theft of intellectual property that have national security dimensions. As a reflection of NSD’s prioritization of national security threats involving malicious cyber activity, in 2012, NSD and the Criminal Division (CCIPS) jointly stood up the National Security Cyber Specialists (NSCS) Network, composed of prosecutors in every U.S. Attorney’s Office and attorneys at Main Justice, which is a resource for training and coordination on computer hacking offenses with national security dimensions (many of which involve the theft of trade secrets and sensitive military technology).
Housed in the Department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provides leadership and assistance to local criminal justice programs that improve and reinforce the nation's criminal justice system. One such program BJA manages is the Intellectual Property Theft Enforcement Program (IPEP) in coordination with the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Task Force on Intellectual Property. The IPEP was initiated at the direction of the Attorney General in FY 2009, and consists of three major components:
- Law enforcement efforts at the state and local level
- A national training and technical assistance program
- Public education campaign
The IPEP Grant Program is designed to provide national support and improve the capacity of state and local criminal justice systems to address criminal intellectual property (IP) enforcement, including prosecution, prevention, training, and technical assistance. Under the program, grant recipients establish and maintain effective collaboration and coordination between state and local law enforcement, including prosecutors, multi-jurisdictional task forces, and appropriate federal agencies, including the FBI and United States Attorneys’ Offices. The information shared under the program includes information about the investigation, analysis, and prosecution of matters involving IP offenses as they relate to violations of state and local criminal statutes. The training and technical assistance (TTA) supports the needs of the local IPEP sites through continued education of the greater law enforcement community on promising IP investigative and prosecutorial practices. Efforts provide ongoing TTA (both remote and on-site) to all IPEP grantees, as well as employ a variety of training delivery mechanisms; assist local sites with IP implementation; and delivering related training nationwide. Finally, in collaboration with the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) BJA launched a national public awareness campaign to help educate the public about IP crime and its consequences in 2011. The campaign is continuously updated and features television, print, and radio public service announcements (PSAs) as well as internet banners and videos.
The United States Attorneys serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. In each United States Attorney’s Office, one or more Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) has received specialized training in the enforcement of intellectual property laws through the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) program. These CHIP attorneys and other AUSAs work closely with special agents from the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and other federal law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute violations of federal copyright, trademark, and trade secrets laws. The United States Attorneys also advise the Attorney General about policies and issues relating to intellectual property enforcement through the Cyber and Intellectual Property subcommittee of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. The subcommittee is led by its chairperson, U.S. Attorney David Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania, and its vice-chair, U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein of the District of Maryland.