Intellectual Property Still Remains a Major Issue

With the recent Senate Judiciary hearing on rogue websites and the upcoming hearing in the House Judiciary’s IP subcommittee regarding the White House’s IP office, intellectual property continues the remain at the forefront of policy debates.

Theft of intellectual property is a huge problem in the United States, as well as the world. Doing a simple Google search, you will find articles, citing fake cigarettes, pirated DVDs/CDs, fake purses, counterfeit pharmaceuticals, fake iPads, fake sports jerseys, and the list goes on. This is an ever-growing issue in the U.S. and keeps getting worse the more technology seems to advance.
A report released by the IPEC on Intellectual Property Enforcement states that in 2010, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) opened 1,033 intellectual property investigations, which lead to 365 arrests, 216 indictments, and 170 convictions. In 2009, 730 investigations were opened, 266 arrests took place, 116 indictments, and 164 convictions. The numbers speak for themselves. The ICE’s intellectual property investigations increased by more than 41% and arrests increased by more than 37% from 2009. The FBI’s intellectual property investigations increased by more than 44% from 2009.
Intellectual property drives this economy. IP accounts for half of our exports and employs nearly 18 million workers. But this is not an issue that affects the U.S. alone. The 2010 International Property Rights Index, released by PRA, found people in countries that protect their physical and intellectual property enjoy a GDP per capita up to eight times greater than those without legal protection. As Congress considers rogue sites legislation and the administration looks to move forward on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, the debate on intellectual property rights won’t fade away anytime soon.