Saturday, 5 May 2018

Trump Administration Releases Annual IP Report to Congress

The White House U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator has released its Annual Intellectual Property Report (Report) to Congress (around 170 pages!).  The Report outlines the Trump Administration’s approach to intellectual property policy and provides information concerning the activity of the various agencies in the U.S. government with duties related to intellectual property.  The bulk of the Report includes appendices which are descriptions of the work of each agency concerning intellectual property over the last year or so. 

The general thrust of the Trump Administration’s approach to intellectual property is stated by a President Trump quote:

“We will safeguard the copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and other intellectual property that is so vital to our security and to our prosperity. We will uphold our values, we will defend our workers, and we will protect the innovations, creations, and inventions that power our magnificent country.” 

The Report outlines the Administration’s four-part strategic approach, which includes: 

• engagement with our trading partners; • effective use of all our legal authorities, including our trade tools; • expanded law enforcement action and cooperation, and • engagement and partnership with the private sector and other stakeholders.

Under the first strategic approach, the Report outlines various initiatives and activities across different agencies to engage and educate trading partners, including the USPTO’s Global Intellectual Property Academy.  Under the second strategic approach, the Report notes that the Trump Administration will strengthen the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States as well as utilize the WTO Dispute Settlement process.  On the third strategic approach, the Report notes:

 At the end of FY 2017, the FBI had 228 pending IPR investigations. The largest number of investigations deal with the theft of trade secrets (79), copyright infringement (79),31 and trademark infringement (64).32 During FY 2017, the FBI initiated 44 new investigations, made 31 arrests, got 23 convictions, and had seizures totaling $750,205, forfeitures totaling $86,949, restitution totaling $53,396,003, and FIRE (Frozen, Indicted, Restrained, Encumbered) totaling $750,000. 

In FY 2017, the number of CBP and HSI IPR seizures increased more than eight percent, to 34,143 (from 31,560 in FY 2016). The total estimated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was $1,206,382,219.

In FY 2017, ICE-HSI initiated 713 intellectual property investigations and had 457 arrests, 288 indictments, and 240 convictions.

In FY 2017, the IPR Center vetted 27,856 investigative leads; of these 16,030 were referred to law enforcement partners. Additionally, the IPR center de-conflicted 4,750 investigative targets for partner agencies and industry. While performing these de-conflictions, the IPR Center identified 321 situations where two or more entities were investigating the same target. Finally, the IPR Center referred 959 leads to private industry for follow-up.  . . .

U.S. law enforcement and Federal agencies participated in Operation Pangea X, which was conducted from August 19, 2017 to September 19, 2017, with the participation of 123 countries, and culminated with a week of action, where participating countries and agencies conducted and/or reported the results of their respective operations. U.S. and Mexican authorities typically participate in Pangea independent of each other. However, in FY 2017, ICE-HSI, CBP, and Mexico collaborated during the U.S. operational phase of this operation. On September 25, 2017, INTERPOL issued a press release highlighting the results of Operation Pangea X, which resulted in 3,584 websites taken off-line, 400 arrests worldwide, and the seizure of 470,000 packages with an estimated value of $51 million in potentially dangerous medicine.

The IPR Center’s Operation Apothecary addresses, analyzes, and attacks potential vulnerabilities in the entry process that might allow for the Internet-facilitated smuggling of commercial quantities of counterfeit, unapproved, and/or adulterated drugs through international mail facilities, express courier hubs, and land borders. During FY 2017, Operation Apothecary resulted in 59 new cases, 38 arrests, 37 indictments, and 41 convictions, as well as 567 seizure incidents of counterfeit items.

On standard setting, the Report notes:

Standards Setting: Many of America’s economic competitors engage strategically in standards setting organizations (SSOs), often to the detriment of American innovators. As the Administration and American industry engage with SSOs, it will be important to ensure that SSOs are being used fairly to promote the adoption of new technologies, rather than impeding the ability for American innovators to continue creating and inventing.  And as SSOs promote the adoption of new technologies, such technologies should be available to industry under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

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