New Law Expected to Add Teeth to Current Counterfeiting Laws


Recognizing that the increase in willful violations of U.S. counterfeiting laws pose a serious threat to the economy, both chambers of Congress finally passed the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act (“the PRO IP Act”). The bill has had the strong support of IP owners from the beginning, but was not without criticism from those who have viewed it as pandering to the recording industry as it continues its efforts to stop peer to peer file sharing. Nevertheless, after several modifications, it passed with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, including a unanimous vote in the Senate. The bill will enhance remedies for willful trademark counterfeiting, enhance civil and criminal penalties for counterfeiters, provide more funding and personnel for federal and state enforcement, and establish a new cabinet level IP enforcement coordinator who will report directly to the president and Congress. The bill was signed by President Bush on October 13, 2008.

The PRO IP Act has several components that should help brand owners as outlined below.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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