Congressman Chris Lee (NY-26) today toured the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) to gain a firsthand look at how law enforcement agencies share information, resources and personnel to combat counterfeiting, piracy and related intellectual property crimes. Strengthening the investigative and enforcement capabilities of United States customs enforcement agencies is a key component of Lee's "Manufacturing for Tomorrow" agenda, a 5-point jobs plan he recently unveiled to strengthen American manufacturing and create jobs.
The IPR Center is the U.S. government's headquarters for investigations into counterfeiting and piracy. Crimes involving software, pharmaceuticals, electronics, household appliances and other products have skyrocketed in recent years. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported more than $260 million worth of IPR seizures in fiscal year 2009, nearly 90 percent of which originated from China. Of note, pharmaceutical IPR seizures now rank among the top five commodities seized by DHS, posing a real public health and safety concern.
"IP crime is one of the greatest threats facing American manufacturers as they try to compete in a global market," said Lee. "I've met with manufacturers who have been victims of IP theft and the effect it has on their bottom line and ability to create jobs is significant. Today's tour was a great opportunity to see the frontlines of our law enforcement agencies' efforts to combat this growing trend."
Lee's "Manufacturing for Tomorrow" agenda focuses on enhancing the enforcement capabilities of those working at facilities like the IPR Center to stop the flow of pirated goods into the United States. Additionally, Lee's agenda focuses on streamlining U.S. International Trade Commission complaints to adjudicate intellectual property claims in a more timely manner.
Specific policy reforms in Lee's "Manufacturing for Tomorrow" 5-point jobs plan include:
Tax relief and fairness for U.S. workers and manufacturers
* Lowering the corporate rate to 25% will increase productivity domestically and stimulate significant economic growth.
* Increase and make permanent the research and development tax credit, with a bonus credit for work done in the United States.
Education and workforce training and preparedness for the 21st century
* Create the U.S. STEM Manufacturing Student Loan Forgiveness Program to encourage students to enter science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
* Extend Employer-Provided Educational Assistance (Section 127) to help U.S. works stay on the cutting edge of innovation in manufacturing.
Tort reform to address job-killing lawsuit abuse
* Make "loser-pays" the policy in product liability suits to protect injured victims and ensure our tort system seeks justice, not profits.
* Cap punitive damages and institute reasonable statutes of limitation to curb lawsuit abuse.
Customs reform to stop intellectual property violations
* Enhance enforcement capabilities of Customs and Border Patrol to stop the flow of pirated goods into the United States.
* Streamline U.S. International Trade Commission complaints to adjudicate intellectual property infringements in a more timely manner.
Open new markets to create U.S. jobs and grow our domestic manufacturing base
* Support pending, Obama-backed trade agreements to create American jobs and open new markets for American products.
* Strengthen Manufacturing Extension Partnership programs to help small manufacturers grow and compete globally.
For more information on Congressman Chris Lee's "Manufacturing for Tomorrow" agenda, please visit www.chrislee.house.gov/manufacturing.