Conyers-Smith PRO-IP Bill Passes House
The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act of 2007 (H.R. 4279) by a vote of 410-11. House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) introduced the PRO-IP Act in December 2007. Ranking Member Smith issued the following statement regarding today's vote:
"For the past 25 years, intellectual property (IP) industries have been a driving force in the American economy, accounting for over half of all U.S. exports, representing 40 percent of the country's economic growth and employing 18 million American workers. These industriesincluding entertainment, high-tech and pharmaceutical companiesrely on strong patent, trademark and copyright protections to preserve their advantage over foreign competitors and remain profitable.
"Because intellectual property is a valuable asset to both the inventor and American economy as a whole, Congress must ensure that IP enforcement is made a top priority for this and future Administrations. The PRO-IP bill strengthens current laws against counterfeiting and piracy, provides additional resources to key enforcement agencies and mandates a new and unprecedented level of leadership and coordination from the White House.
"At a time when many Americans are facing a slowing economy and increasing costs of fuel and food, Congress has a clear responsibility to promote policies and legislation that drive American industries and encourage entrepreneurs. Today's House vote is a step in the right direction for IP enforcement and the economy. I urge the Senate to act quickly and make protecting intellectual property a permanent priority."
The PRO-IP bill is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, which includes more than 500 businesses and associations. The bill was cosponsored by 20 Members of Congress, including IP Subcommittee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ranking Member Howard Coble (R-NC).