Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Draft Law to toughen stand on counterfeit goods [United States]

The US Justice Department (DOJ) has sent to Congress the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007, the draft of a new law calling for stronger penalties for repeat offenders and would increase the maximum penalty for counterfeiting offenses if the defendant “knowingly and recklessly causes serious bodily injury or death.”

Announcing the move, US Attorney general Alberto Gonzales said, “Violations of intellectual property rights (IPR) not only deprive legitimate businesses of millions of dollars and undercut innovation but often pose serious threat to human safety and health.”To be considered by Congress, a draft bill sent by the Administration must be sponsored by one or more members of Congress. To become a law, identical versions of a bill must be passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by the president.At the same time, the Bush Administration also announced plans to expand its efforts to improve intellectual property enforcement in key countries. Many counterfeit goods, particularly pharmaceuticals, are imported from overseas markets.According to the draft bill, serious body injury could carry a penalty of 10 years to 20 years in prison, and up to life imprisonment if counterfeiting results in death, according to a senior US Justice Department official.
Although some may think violations of intellectual property rights have purely economic effects on so-called “faceless corporations,” the reality is much different, especially when medical and pharmaceutical products are concerned, the Attorney General said in comments made at the US Chamber of Commerce.

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