Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Focus on Fakes

Have you ever seen someone at a flea market selling Rolex watches for $70 or NFL shirts for $5? If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true. Intellectual property comes in many forms, from writings of an author to the new product developed by an inventor. Federal law provides rights to owners of these writings, products and processes to protect them from being misappropriated by others.

Protection of intellectual property encourages creativity that is essential to continued growth and success of our economy. Without protection, companies and individuals may not be as willing to invest the time and money necessary to develop innovative new products that enhance, and in many cases, save our lives. Unfortunately, unethical criminal behaviors have created an increase in counterfeit and pirated goods that inhibit creativity and threaten profitability of legitimate creators. Trade in counterfeit goods such as CDs, clothing and drugs cost the true owners around the world billions of dollars annually.

Today's technological advancements and the ability of foreign manufacturers to produce lower cost goods present unlimited opportunities for distribution of goods that are authorized by the IPR owner. However, this same technology and low cost production provide the same opportunities for supplying products that infringe on intellectual property rights. For example, anyone with a computer equipped with a CD and/or DVD burner and a stack of discs can illegally copy and distribute protected works, such as music and movies.

Both the domestic and international protection of intellectual property has become increasingly more difficult. While the U.S. has well-defined laws for protection of intellectual property, not all countries provide or enforce the protection of intellectual property. This lack of protection and enforcement has led to widespread unauthorized copying and use of unlicensed marks to supply the market with goods that violate intellectual property rights.

Some of the statistics provided by CBP show that footwear, clothing, purses and electronics are some of the most frequent items imported in violation of intellectual property rights. Goods such as soaps, pharmaceuticals and electronics can be safety hazards and pose dangers to consumers if not manufactured according to our standards. China was the top trading partner for IPR seizures in FY 2009 accounting for 79% of the total value of goods seized. Footwear was the top commodity seized in FY 2009, which accounted for 38% of the entire value of infringing goods.

The enforcement of intellectual property rights has become one of CBP’s top priorities. CBP is dedicated to protecting against the importation of goods, which infringe/violate
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). The aggressive enforcement program devotes substantial resources to target, intercept, detain and seize goods in that violate intellectual property laws. CBP has an online reporting system that allows the public to report potential violations, eAllegations.

Click HERE to check out this interesting shopping website, then cast your vote using the poll at the top right side of the page.

Would this website be something that CBP might have an interest in?

__I’m going shopping!

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