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Blog: The Justice Department is Determined to Protect Our Economy by Combating Intellectual Property Theft

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This post is courtesy of Attorney General Eric Holder.

American companies are among the most innovative in the world. They're responsible for important technological advances that benefit consumers, create jobs and support our economy. But today, this prosperity inevitably attracts global rivals -- including individuals, companies and even countries that are eager to use illicit means to tilt the playing field to their advantage.

Fortunately, the women and men of the U.S. Department of Justice, which holds primary responsibility for the enforcement of intellectual property rights -- including laws prohibiting the theft of trade secrets, the trafficking of counterfeit goods and services, and the pirating copyrighted music, movies, books and software -- are working to prevent, combat and punish these serious crimes. Thanks to the release of a new 2013 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement (JSP) -- a comprehensive road map unveiled today by the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) -- the Department and its partners stand poised to take these critical efforts to a new level.

Building on the original plan -- which was released in 2010 -- this document identifies 26 specific actions to protect intellectual property, increase enforcement against counterfeiting networks, and encourage multi-national cooperation to protect rights holders. It will provide invaluable guidance to U.S. agencies and private sector leaders who are striving to protect intellectual property rights. And it will enable us to capitalize on the momentum that's been established over the last three years -- including our efforts to improve efficiency and coordination between federal, state, and local partners; to bolster the international enforcement of rights; to secure our supply chain and prevent illegal products from entering the country; and to step up our domestic enforcement activities, so we can focus on investigations and prosecutions that protect America's businesses, disrupt piracy and counterfeiting operations, and safeguard the health and safety of our citizens.

I'm pleased to report that these efforts have resulted in numerous high-profile successes. For instance, last year, a multi-agency initiative known as Operation Pangea V resulted in 79 arrests and the seizure of 3.7 million doses of potentially life-threatening substandard, spurious, falsely-labeled, falsified, or counterfeit medicines. In January 2012 -- in collaboration with law enforcement leaders in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands -- we arrested five individuals for allegedly engaging in massive worldwide online piracy, executing more than 15 search warrants and seizing approximately $50 million in assets in the U.S. and abroad. During 2011 and 2012 -- as a part of an initiative known as Operation Chain Reaction -- multiple defendants were convicted for their roles in importing counterfeit integrated circuits and selling hundreds of thousands of these items to the U.S. Navy, defense contractors, and others. Some of these products were marketed as "military-grade."

Thanks to the creation of the Department's Task Force on Intellectual Property, which has been helping to call attention to intellectual property crimes -- and to combat these devastating offenses -- since its inception in 2010, we've ensured that this work will continue to be a top priority. As a result of the hard work of members of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Network -- which is comprised of 51 FBI agents and more than 260 prosecutors who are dedicated to intellectual property enforcement in 21 major U.S. cities -- we've established a promising institutional framework for standing vigilant against these crimes long into the future. Last year, the Department launched a new network of federal prosecutors with special training in computer crimes and national security to support law enforcement agencies in the investigation of, among other things, economic espionage and trade secret theft. And our Office of Justice Programs has partnered with the National Crime Prevention Council to enlist the help of members of the public in this fight -- by spearheading a wide-ranging public education campaign to educate millions of Americans on the prevalence and dangers of intellectual property theft.

We can all be proud of these, and many other, significant achievements in our fight against a wide range of intellectual property crimes. And I'm confident that the new Joint Strategic Plan announced today will enable us to continue this important work -- and to ensure that our nation can remain at the forefront of technology, innovation, and job creation.

As we move forward, my Justice Department colleagues and I will continue to strengthen these critical efforts. We will move both aggressively and appropriately to counter emerging threats. And we will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies across the globe and throughout the private sector -- as part of a strong and coordinated Administration-wide response -- to ensure that America's scientists, artists, and inventors are able to develop, innovate, create and grow our economy.

To learn more about our efforts, visit the website of the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section: http://www.cybercrime.gov/ and the website of the department's IP Task Force at http://www.justice.gov/dag/iptaskforce/. More information about the announcement of today's strategic plan may be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/06/20/intellectual-property-key-driver-our-economy.


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