June 30, 2008

U.S. Chamber, Virginia Attorney General and Virginia Legislators Get Tough on Counterfeiting

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Virginia’s Attorney General Bob McDonnell today announced a new state law set to take effect on July 1 to more effectively combat counterfeiting and piracy in the commonwealth.  The law is the product of a collaborative effort between Virginia state leaders, law enforcement, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC).

“Counterfeiting and piracy threaten consumers’ health and safety, while shaking our confidence in the products we rely on and the brands we trust,” said Caroline Joiner, vice president of the Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center, during a press conference with Attorney General McDonnell.  “This legislation will protect Virginia’s consumers from dangerous and defective counterfeit and pirated products, while sending a strong message to the perpetrators of these crimes.  The Chamber applauds the leadership of Attorney General McDonnell, the General Assembly and Senate for taking action that serves as an example to other states wrestling with the scourge of counterfeiting and piracy.”
The law, sponsored by Delegate Ben Cline and Senator Dick Saslaw, includes increased penalties for trademark infringement and possession of counterfeit goods, increased authority to seize illegal goods, and facilitates greater protection of all federally registered trademarks within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Counterfeiting and piracy are a global epidemic which cost the U.S. economy $250 billion annually and have led to the loss of more than 750,000 jobs. Affecting every American community, counterfeiting and piracy endanger public health and safety, while costing federal, state, and local governments much-needed tax revenue for vital community projects.  Among the most commonly counterfeited and pirated products are fake prescription drugs, defective medical devices, faulty electrical appliances, batteries, machine tools, pirated software and consumer products, such as apparel and personal hygiene products.

The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion IP as a vital engine of global development, growth, and human progress.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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