Issue Date: May 19, 2008
Intellectual Property Bill Passes
With strong support from U.S. industry, the House has approved legislation that would give federal law enforcement officials new tools to combat the theft of U.S.-owned intellectual property (IP) such as pharmaceuticals, manufactured goods, and artistic works. The bill, H.R. 4279, would increase criminal and civil penalties for piracy and counterfeiting. It would also establish an IP enforcement division within the Department of Justice and create a high-level IP "czar" who would be responsible for coordinating efforts among federal law enforcement agencies. The Senate has not taken any action on the issue, although various members have introduced several IP-related bills. Pushing the legislation is the Coalition Against Counterfeiting & Piracy, a 550-member organization led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest business federation. Members of the coalition range from drugmakers to movie studios to industrial manufacturers. The House-passed bill's tougher penalties would "send an important message that IP theft will not be tolerated," U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas J. Donohue said.
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