The Obama Administration yesterday issued an Executive Order establishing two Advisory Committees on Intellectual Property Enforcement.
The new committees will assist the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator in implementing the Joint Strategic Plan for Intellectual Property Enforcement, and will ensure that all of the Administration Agencies and Departments affected by intellectual property infringement are represented and involved in addressing these issues. The Committees will include the heads or deputies of the Departments of Justice, State, Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Establishment of the committees is the most recent Administration step in carrying out provisions outlined by the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act (PRO-IP) of 2008.
The diversity in make-up of these committees mirrors the broad composition of industries that are dependent on meaningful intellectual property rights and enforcement for their existence, and illustrates the impact these entities have on the economy, and jobs across multiple industry sectors.
The PRO-IP Act recognized this diversity and the need to better coordinate all the agencies that have overlapping jurisdiction and oversight responsibilities.
The move was praised by the law’s co-sponsors, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith (R-TX) and John Conyers (D-MI), respectively and the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
Chairman Smith said, “From a mousetrap in your home to an iPad in your hand, intellectual property plays an important role in our daily lives and global economy. Unfortunately, as technology has advanced, so have international counterfeiting and piracy. The theft of intellectual property costs Americans billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. By encouraging cooperation and communication between the federal agencies tasked with protecting IP, these committees can target counterfeiting trends and recommend responses. We must do more to prioritize the rights of America’s innovators and protect our valuable intellectual property. Today’s announcement is a good start.”
Ranking Member Conyers said, “As we look critically for new ways to create jobs in our country, President Obama’s actions represent a vital and positive step forward on the road to real economic recovery. The goal of the PRO-IP Act was to encourage the coordination of intellectual property policy at the highest levels of our government, and I am glad to see the President’s executive order help effectuate that goal. IP-intensive industries are crucial to American economic growth. Counterfeits of U.S. goods replace legitimate exports and cost American jobs. We hope these committees implement an effective plan to protect consumers and spur innovation."
Senator Leahy also praised the move, saying, "I am pleased that the President has established a series of Intellectual Property Enforcement Advisory Committees, including the committee required by the PRO-IP Act. I am also glad that he has created a Cabinet-level Senior Advisory Committee. The creation of these Committees is another important step toward fulfilling the promise of the PRO-IP Act. That legislation established the Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, to provide greater coordination of our intellectual property enforcement efforts. These advisory committees build on that commitment by ensuring that our federal agencies are working together at the highest levels to effectively enforce our intellectual property laws. Protecting American intellectual property is critical to our efforts to promote the innovation that will help grow our economy.”