IP Crime Convictions Nearly Doubled In 2007 - InformationWeek

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2/11/2008
03:33 PM
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IP Crime Convictions Nearly Doubled In 2007

The number of defendants sentenced for IP crimes rose dramatically, from 149 in fiscal year 2005 to 287 in fiscal year 2007, according to a Department of Commerce report.

Criminal sentencing for illegal use of intellectual property rose by 92% since the federal government's 2005 fiscal year, according to a new report.

The Department of Justice filed 217 IP cases in fiscal year 2007, up 7% from the previous year and up 44% from fiscal year 2005. The number of defendants sentenced for IP crimes rose even more dramatically, from 149 in fiscal year 2005 to 287 in fiscal year 2007, according to figures the Department of Commerce released Monday.

In its annual report to President George W. Bush and Congress on intellectual property enforcement and protection, the department reported 14,000 seizures of counterfeit and copyright-infringing goods, worth $200 million, at U.S. borders. That number of seizures leveled off after five years, but the value of the merchandise increased by 27%, according to the report. The Department of Commerce said that IP issues take priority in international relationships through several channels, including the G8 and Security & Prosperity Partnership IP working groups.

In October, the U.S. announced it will negotiate an international agreement (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA) on IP enforcement with interested governments in Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, and Switzerland. In fiscal year 2007, the Department of Commerce also expanded an IP Attache program to include eight new people in Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Russia, and Thailand. The Department of Justice sent two envoys to Romania and Thailand.

At the same time, the U.S. Trade Representative stepped up efforts within the World Trade Organization to resolve IP-related trade disputes by bringing the first such dispute against China.

Inside the U.S., leaders have tried to expand government and industry engagement by holding "road shows" throughout the country to explain basic IP enforcement.

Finally, the Department of Commerce touted American efforts to inform the public that counterfeit and copyright-infringing goods pose a threat to the health and safety of Americans and consumers around the world.

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