Attorney General Eric Holder, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod Rosenstein, and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Deputy Director, Kristen Mahoney, today announced more than $2.4 million in grants to 13 jurisdictions to combat the purchase and sale of counterfeit and pirated products. Intellectual Property (IP) theft refers to the violation of criminal laws that protect copyrights, patents, trademarks, other forms of intellectual property and trade secrets, both in the United States and abroad. IP crimes can destroy jobs and suppress innovation in the United States. Faulty products and improperly prepared counterfeit drugs can jeopardize the health and safety of consumers. In some cases, these activities are used to fund dangerous or even violent criminal enterprises and organized crime networks.
"IP theft is not a victimless crime. It can devastate lives and businesses as well as undermine our nation's financial stability, jeopardize the health of our citizens, and even threaten our national security," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "That's why the Justice Department is fighting back with these new investments to prevent and combat IP theft by enabling some of our key state and local partners to build on their records of success."
The Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General made the announcement in Towson, Md., today with Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Baltimore County Police Chief James W. Johnson. Baltimore County will receive $123,971 in grant funds that will support additional training, community outreach efforts and investigative resources to combat intellectual property theft. This grant award will support the Baltimore County Police Department's efforts to enforce criminal laws protecting foreign and domestic copyrights, patents, trademarks and other forms of intellectual property and trade secrets. U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. for the District of Columbia, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia and Lt. Colonel H.C. Davis of the Virginia State Police also participated in today's grant announcement.
"Preventing and combating intellectual property crimes constitutes a top priority for our nation's Department of Justice," said Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole. "With the grants we announce today, we make good on our firm commitment to work closely with a variety of federal, state, local, and international partners to more effectively fight IP crime, provide direct support to critical law enforcement allies, and strengthen our ability to protect American innovation."
The grants are provided through the department's BJA, and will assist 13 jurisdictions in enforcing criminal laws related to IP theft, through improving their ability to enforce, investigate, prosecute and implement prevention initiatives that address IP crimes. The grants include providing reimbursement of expenses incurred in performing criminal enforcement operations, such as overtime payments, storage fees for seized evidence, training and technical assistance.
Other jurisdictions receiving grants today include: Austin, Texas; Central Point, Ore.; Cook County, Ill.; Orlando, Fla.; Riverside County, Calif.; Los Angeles City Attorney's Office; New York County District Attorney's Office; Sacramento County, Calif.; San Antonio; the California Department of Justice; St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; and the Virginia State Police.
The Justice Department, through the Deputy Attorney General's IP Task Force, has made preventing IP theft a top priority. In the past three years, the department's Bureau of Justice Assistance has awarded $10,108,800 in grants to 34 law enforcement agencies to tackle the problem. BJA has awarded a total of $13,383,002 in grants to fight IP theft.
The Justice Department is also working with the National White Collar Crime Center and the National Association of Attorneys General to provide training and technical assistance to law enforcement on the topic of IP crime investigation. In addition, the department has partnered with the National Crime Prevention Council to educate American consumers about the dangers of purchasing and using counterfeit goods. For more information on the NCPC's efforts on this issue, please visit: www.ncpc.org/topics/intellectual-property-theft.
For more information on the jurisdictions receiving grants, please visit: www.ojp.gov/funding/funding.htm.
For more information on the department's Bureau of Justice Assistance, please visit: www.bja.gov.
For more information on the Justice Department's continuing efforts to stop IP theft, please visit: www.justice.gov/dag/iptaskforce.