Since the enactment of the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008 (“Pro-IP Act”), and the appointment of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel in September 2009, the department has been hard at work. On June 22, 2010, the department released the long awaited plan that will implement the directive of the Pro-IP Act, which is contained in the 2010 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement. This plan lays out 33 “enforcement action items” aimed at combating internet piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods through improved intellectual property enforcement efforts. These action items fall within six categories of focus:
1. The U.S. Government will lead by example and will work to ensure that it does not purchase or use infringing goods;
2. Increasing transparency in the development of enforcement policy, information sharing among federal agencies, and reporting of law enforcement activities in the U.S. and abroad;
3. Improving coordination of law enforcement efforts at the federal, state, local, and international levels to increase efficiency and effectiveness and to minimize duplication and waste;
4. Improving enforcement of U.S. intellectual property rights abroad, including development of a coordinated and comprehensive plan to address websites that infringe U.S. intellectual property rights and enhancement of foreign law enforcement cooperation;
5. Securing supply chains to stem the flow of infringing products by requiring active participation by manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and distributors and by establishing increased enforcement cooperation, coordination and information sharing at U.S. borders; and
6. Improving data and information in the area of intellectual property enforcement.
The full text of the 2010 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement is available here.
We will continue to monitor the activities and successes of the department, and will keep you informed. In the meantime, trademark owners should consider registering marks with US and foreign customs offices. With the increased attention directed at combating piracy and counterfeit goods, worldwide, it is likely that this method of policing will become an even more effective tool for trademark owners.