New Counterfeiting Law Will Bolster Protections, SEMA Says
Congress passed sweeping legislation to strengthen intellectual property protections for American businesses. The Pro-IP Act increases civil and criminal laws against counterfeiting and piracy, and establishes permanent programs in which the U.S. government works with industry and foreign governments to fight global piracy.
“Lawmakers have taken an important step in helping combat the scourge of counterfeiting,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA’s president and CEO. “Our industry is all about innovation, technology, and quality. Counterfeiters rob our companies of those valuable assets. This provides the U.S. government with new tools and resources to fight intellectual property thieves.” Automotive components, tyres and accessories have long been a target for illegal counterfeiting, SEMA pointed out.
Over the years, various automotive trade groups have registered numerous complaints about counterfeit products and illegal knock-offs, SEMA noted. The new law authorizes more federal enforcement officers and agents in the field dedicated to investigating counterfeiting claims, and will help track counterfeiters from the point of foreign production, through importation and distribution to store shelves.
Under the new law, signed by President Bush, counterfeiters will face stiffer criminal penalties, especially if the products potentially affect consumer safety. At the same time, the new law does not change the basic requirement that businesses must first register their copyrights, trademarks and patents with the appropriate government authorities in order to establish enforceable legal rights. (Tire Review/Akron)