Last year, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), Victoria Espinel, released the Obama Administration’s 2013 Joint Strategic Plan for Intellectual Property Enforcement. The plan addresses current challenges to IP enforcement, including online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods.
“Over the next three years, we will continue to work to ensure that standards, procurement, and regulatory policies of foreign countries do not unfairly exclude or prejudice innovative or creative American products and services,” the report states. “We hope that Congress acts on the Administration’s remaining legislative recommendations from the 2011 White Paper on Intellectual Property Enforcement and on any further recommendations we deliver in the future.”
Below are some of the initiatives that are set forth in the Joint Strategic Plan:
• Facilitate voluntary initiatives to reduce online intellectual property infringement. IPEC will reach out to additional sectors (which may include data storage services, domain name registrars, and search engines) and will also encourage rightholders to adopt a set of best practices. USPTO will start a process to assess the voluntary initiatives;
• Conduct a comprehensive review of domestic laws to determine needed legislative changes to improve enforcement;
• Evaluate the enforcement process of exclusion orders issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). IPEC will chair an interagency working group to improve the process for enforcement of Section 337/ITC exclusion orders;
• Improve transparency in intellectual property policymaking. IPEC will look for additional ways to hear concerns and gather input from a wide range of stakeholders;
• Improve law enforcement communication with stakeholders. DOJ and ICE will look for additional ways to engage a broad range of stakeholders in an effort to increase understanding of law enforcement operations and expand stakeholder relationships;
• Increase focus on counterfeits shipped through international mail and work with express carriers. CBP will work to obtain advance data from international post operators and express carrier companies to improve targeting;
• Educate authors on “fair use” copyright doctrine. The U.S. Copyright Office will summarize current law and provide general guidance targeted to artists seeking to apply the law to their own situations;
• Protect intellectual property at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the FBI will work with ICANN, in collaboration with stakeholders, so that new top-level domains do not become new venues for infringement; and
• Consider copyright and patent “small claims” courts. The U.S. Copyright Office and USPTO are considering alternative adjudicatory processes for hearing “small claims” cases brought by copyright and patent holders.
So far, the strategic plan has received a positive response. While the focus on online piracy was certainly welcome news to copyright holders like the Recording Industry Association of America, digit rights groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, also applauded the neutral stance adopted by the Administration, citing the use of the word “infringement” rather than theft.”
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I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +