January 10, 2012

Increase in IP Seizures Demonstrates Scope of Global Counterfeiting and Piracy

Statement from Rob Calia, Senior Director, Stakeholder Advocacy, U.S. Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center

“Earlier this week, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) released their FY 2011 intellectual property rights seizure statistics, which provides a troubling snapshot of the expanding trade of illegal counterfeits. Over the past decade, seizures of counterfeit goods have increased by 325%. One of the most telling statistics from the report is that more than 1/3 of all goods seized this year (in terms of value) pose a threat to consumer health and safety. Seizures of counterfeit pharmaceuticals alone increased by nearly 200%.

“The astounding mushrooming of direct counterfeiter-to-consumer mailings illustrates the growing influence of rogue websites, which are proving to be a troubling menace for enforcement efforts.

“We commend CBP and ICE for the work they do to protect American consumers and American jobs. By all accounts these seizures mark only a small measure of the true scope of the counterfeiting and piracy problem. We urge Congress to provide CBP, ICE, and the other enforcement agencies adequate funding to aggressively combat this growing scourge.

“We look forward to working with both the Administration and Congress in ensuring that intellectual property rights—which are a pillar to the American economy, health-and-safety, and our future as innovators—are upheld to the highest degree.”

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