How the Department of Homeland Security is Tackling Intellectual Property Theft

The Obama Administration recently revealed its plan to combat intellectual property theft over the next three years. Intellectual property theft is a threat to our nation’s economic growth, costing the nation an estimated $300 billion every year; therefore, tackling this issue head on is vital to the nation’s long-term development and progress.

The 2013 Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Joint Strategic Plan is the result of four years of work between the White House Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator and the Department of Homeland Security to strengthen enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The Department of Homeland Security, with the 2013 Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Joint Strategic Plan as its guide, will take specific actions designed to strengthen our country’s intellectual property protections by encouraging multiple nations to work together to protect intellectual property and by stopping counterfeiting networks.

The Strategic Plan is a follow up to Operation in our Sites, a coordinated law enforcement effort to target websites that sell pirated goods. Federal law enforcement agencies, through this plan, have seized more than $3 million in illegal merchandise and seized more than 1,700 domain names of infringing websites.

Since 2009 the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have worked together to increase its intellectual property cases by about 70 percent, which have resulted in a 159 percent increase in arrests, a 264 percent increase in indictments, and a 103 percent increase in arrests.

Intellectual property seizures have increase by 53 percent since FY2009, with nearly 25,000 seizures completed in FY2011 alone.

More than 21 agencies have collaborated, through the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, to combat intellectual property theft and stop the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of counterfeit merchandise. It is through these multi-organizational efforts that significant improvement can be realized.

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