US politicians urged to take tougher IP stance


US policy-makers should take immediate action to stem the tide of IP “theft”, a report has warned.

The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, a private group, says violations of US IP rights cost about $300 billion annually and hamper economic growth.

Its report covers patent, trademark and copyright infringement, but focuses largely on trade secret theft. China is singled out as the worst IP infringer, while India and Russia are noted for being problematic.

During its 11-month investigation, the commission spoke to a range of people, including business leaders and politicians, and says its evidence represents “the best governmental and private studies undertaken to date” on infringement of US IP rights.

The commission believes stronger action is required to combat IP infringement, particularly from senior officials within government.

Immediate remedies should include designating the US national security advisor as the “principal policy coordinator” for all IP protection efforts, the report said, along with authorising the secretary of commerce to manage this response.

The report recommended other short-term measures, such as strengthening the US International Trade Commission’s ability to detain goods containing “stolen IP”.

Recommended medium-term responses should include forcing US ambassadors to prioritise IP enforcement, while ensuring that “top US officials from all agencies push to move China ... beyond a policy of indigenous innovation toward becoming a self-innovating economy” is listed as a long-term goal.

Ralph Loren, partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, said the commission is not well-known in IP circles and has more of a political focus, mainly assessing how to better protect the US against cyber attacks.

While the group makes some good points, Loren said, its recommendations are unlikely be adopted but more likely to arise during general discussions about national security.

He added: “It’s not clear that the report will have any major effect.”

Members of the commission include Dennis Blair, former director of National Intelligence in the US government, and Craig Barrett, former chief executive of chip-maker Intel. 

This article was first published on 30 May 2013 in World IP Review

The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, ip theft, usitc, dennis blair

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