With the holiday season rapidly approaching, the staff at USTR is excited to participate in the gift giving tradition shared by millions of Americans. However, as you head out to shop and begin crossing items off your list, keep in mind the importance of making responsible purchases by avoiding counterfeit and pirated products.
Intellectual property theft is hardly a victimless crime. In 2009, U.S. companies lost approximately $48 billion due to counterfeiting, piracy, and other violations of intellectual property rights in China alone, according to surveys by the U.S. International Trade Commission. Intellectual property theft damages not only our nation’s entrepreneurs and innovators but everyone involved in the production process, from artists and writers to technicians, janitors and caterers.
The Obama Administration has been conducting a broad effort to improve the protection of intellectual property rights. Most recently, on November 29, the Department of Justice launched a campaign to raise awareness of the various forms of intellectual property crime and to combat the purchase and sale of counterfeit products. The campaign is educating the public about how intellectual property theft harms the economy, undermines American job creation and innovation, and threatens the health and safety of consumers.
USTR is also playing a key role in reducing the number of counterfeit products that enter our markets. On October 1 of this year, the United States and seven other countries signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). ACTA strengthens the international legal framework for combating the global proliferation of commercial-scale counterfeiting and piracy. The agreement also includes provisions to increase international cooperation and promote strong enforcement practices.
USTR is committed to creating and protecting American jobs. This holiday season, please do your part to stimulate economic recovery at home by avoiding counterfeit and pirated goods.