the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Releasing the Joint Strategic Plan to Combat Intellectual Property Theft

Victoria Espinel, U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, unveils the Administration’s first Joint Strategic Plan to combat intellectual property theft.

I am pleased to announce that today we unveiled the Administration’s first Joint Strategic Plan to combat intellectual property theft. 

The U.S. economy leads the world in innovation and creativity thanks to American inventors, artists and workers.  Our ability to develop new technology, designs and artistic works supports jobs and allows us to export great new products and services around the world. Our citizens need to feel confident that they can invest in new innovation and intellectual property, knowing it will be safe from theft.  Ensuring that our ideas and ingenuity are protected helps us create jobs and increase our exports. 

Now, more than ever, we need to protect the ideas, artistry, and our reputation for quality, provide our businesses with the incentives to make each new product better, reduce crimes related to intellectual property infringement and keep dangerous counterfeits out of our supply chain to protect our citizens.  Strong intellectual property enforcement will help us to accomplish that.  The Obama Administration has always embraced the free flow of information, online collaboration, and fair use by average citizens, which are also helping to advance our society and economy every day -- this strategy does not target legitimate and legal activity.  The Administration is technology-neutral, using both proprietary and open source platforms on the web and all content on is public domain, making it an active participant in the online communities of the 21st Century.

This office was established to coordinate the efforts of the different parts of the government that work hard to stop intellectual property theft.  Equally important, your government also wants to make sure that the products you buy are safe.  Those principles form the backbone of the strategy for combating infringement. To develop the strategy, we worked closely with agencies across the government that are responsible for fighting infringement.  We also incorporated some of the great ideas you submitted to us in response to our request for comments.

The strategy contains more than thirty concrete recommendations for improvement, falling into six main categories.  First, we will lead by example.  Specifically, we will work to ensure that we do not mistakenly purchase or use illegal products.  Second, the strategy underscores that this Administration supports transparency.  That includes transparency in our development of enforcement policy, information sharing, and reporting of law enforcement activities at home and abroad.  Third, we will improve coordination and thereby increase efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement efforts at the Federal, state and local level, of personnel stationed overseas and of our international training efforts.  Fourth, we will work with our trading partners and within international organizations to better enforce American intellectual property rights in the global economy.  In that regard, we will initiate a comprehensive review of current efforts in support of U.S. businesses that have difficulty enforcing their intellectual property rights in overseas markets, with a particular focus on China.  Fifth, we must secure our supply chain.  To achieve this most important goal, we will take a close look at the unique problems posed by foreign-based websites and other entities that provide access to counterfeit or pirated products, and develop a coordinated and comprehensive plan to address them.  We will make sure our law enforcement has the authority it needs to secure the supply chain and also encourage industry to work collaboratively to address unlawful activity on the internet, such as illegal downloading and illegal internet pharmacies.  Sixth, and finally, we will make sure we spend your money wisely, a process we have already begun.  To do that, we have, and will continue to collect and track the amount of money we spend on intellectual property enforcement per year.  We will use this information to map out the most effective way to fight this theft.

The American economy is driven by the innovation and creativity of its people.  We need to protect the ideas and artistry that has made us so successful.  We need to make sure we protect our citizens from the risks to public health and safety posed by criminal activity and by dangerous counterfeits.  This strategy is the coordinated effort of your government to protect consumers and our economy from these real threats.  I am confident that this strategy will be a significant step in that direction.  I encourage you to read the strategy we submitted to Congress today.  If you do, I hope that you will agree that we are headed along the right path. 

Victoria Espinel is the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator