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Congressman Joe Donnelly Discusses Fair Trade and Consumer Safety at L.E. Johnson Products in Elkhart

Press Release

Location: Elkhart, IN


Announces House Introduction of Legislation Aimed At Combating the Theft of Intellectual Property

Elkhart, IN - Today, Congressman Joe Donnelly visited L.E. Johnson Products in Elkhart to call attention to the impact that counterfeiting has had on Hoosier businesses and announced the House introduction of the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Act of 2007. Donnelly is a leading co-sponsor of the legislation introduced by Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA). The Senate version, S. 522, was introduced in February by Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN) and George Voinovich (R-OH).

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that counterfeiting and piracy cost the U.S. economy up to $250 billion each year and that intellectual property theft is directly responsible for the loss of over 750,000 American jobs. Additionally, the International Intellectual Property Alliance estimates that the United States suffers $9 billion losses in trade annually due to counterfeiting and piracy.

"Counterfeit products negatively impact companies like L.E. Johnson and ABRO that have invested money, labor and years in developing quality products that consumers can depend on," Donnelly said. "The distribution of counterfeit products not only harms the US economy, but also endangers the health and safety of Americans. In order to protect our economy and keep our families safe, a hard-hitting legislative solution is needed to put a stop to the theft of intellectual property. I believe the legislation introduced in the House this week is part of that solution."

The Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Act of 2007 would establish the Intellectual Property Enforcement Network (IPEN), which would replace the current approach to enforcement with a stronger, more centralized system. The bill requires information sharing and enforcement cooperation between all of the agencies relevant to protecting intellectual property rights, calls for the United States to work towards higher standards of enforcement with foreign governments, and mandates the creation of a strategic plan to stop piracy.

"We must hold to account the governments of countries like China that allow companies to produce and sell counterfeit products," Donnelly said. "By coordinating federal resources within the US and synchronizing our efforts with those of other countries, we level the playing field and ensure the prosperity of the American economy for years to come."

This legislation is supported by a number of business and labor groups, including the AFL-CIO, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC), and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).

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