Wednesday, December 8, 2010

“Un” Happy Holidays for Internet Counterfeiters

After the big sales on Black Friday following Thanksgiving Day, retailers claim to have the best deals of the season available for online shoppers on Monday, also known as Cyber Monday. Online shoppers looking for bargains didn’t find them on 82 commercial websites found to be offering illegal counterfeit goods and copyrighted works. As part of Operation In Our Sites coordinated by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) seizure orders were executed against these 82 domains on Cyber Monday.

The government operation targeted online retailers of counterfeit goods, which included sports equipment, footwear, handbags and athletic apparel. Illegal copies of copyrighted DVDs, music and software were also targeted. Federal agents made undercover purchases from various online retailed suspected of selling counterfeit goods. Some of the goods were shipped directly to the U.S. from other countries using international express mail. Once the goods were confirmed to be counterfeit, seizure orders were obtained. When accessing these websites now, users will see a banner notifying them that the website/domain has been seized by federal authorities.

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. Without proper enforcement, manufacturers may produce lower cost inferior goods by violating the trademark, copyright and patent laws. Some of these inferior goods such as pharmaceuticals could be hazardous to consumer’s health because they are not manufactured under the same regulations and processes as the patented or trademarked goods.

The IPR Center and the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual property (IP Task Force) work to eliminate the growth of intellectual property violations. They encourage involvement from the holders of IPR to assist them in the fight against this growing problem. To learn more about these efforts, visit the IPR Center at and the IP Task Force at

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