IPEC: Joint Strategic Plan on IP Enforcement for FY 2017-2019

January 25, 2017
Categories: Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property Protection, IP Protection, Trade Secret Theft

The Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) released the Joint Strategic Plan on IP Enforcement for the fiscal year 2017-2019 in December 2016. Published every three years, the Strategic Plan is used as a national benchmark to incentivize intellectual property (IP) enforcement efforts and collaboration with domestic and international stakeholders. Under the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008 (Public Law no. 110-43), the scope of IP enforcement covers a variety of topics, including:  copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and other forms of IP both in the US and abroad with a focus on combating counterfeit and infringing goods.

The expansive nature of IP makes it one of the most influential drivers in the US economy. The Department of Commerce reported IP-intensive industries account for 27.9 million jobs in the United States, and indirectly supports an additional 17.6 million jobs. Altogether, IP industries represent approximately 30 percent of all US jobs, bringing the combined value to 38 percent of the US GDP. Due to the extensive economic impact and the high risk of third-party exploitation, protection of intellectual property is a national security priority and a pillar for upholding fair competition in a global marketplace.

The Joint Strategic Plan is based on four primary goals. The first objective of the Plan is an enhanced understanding of how trade and intellectual property issues impact organizations and the economy as a whole.

According to the report, the rate of intellectual property infringement is steadily increasing. Section 1 asserts that international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods is reported to be up to 2.5 percent of world trade or more than $400 billion. This section examines how businesses that rely on IP infringement operate in the digital age through the exploitation of IP assets of others. The segment also highlights the various threats to national security posed by unlawful exploitation of IP. These threats include:

  • undermining of fair international trade;
  • threats to consumer health and the environment;
  • labor exploitation;
  • threats to the integrity of domestic and international supply chains.

Section 2 of the Plan focuses on promoting a safe and secure internet by suggesting mechanisms to minimize online counterfeit and IP-infringing activity. This section examines the follow-the-money approach, which strengthens payment processors and advertising networks in order to disrupt illicit financing. It also hones-in on consumer-based approaches through education and improving policies for websites, social media, and mobile apps.

A third goal of the report is to secure and facilitate lawful cross-border trade. Section 3 of the Strategic Plan outlines methods to improve identification mechanisms, strengthen the efficiency of customs authorities, and exploring new business methods. As stated in the report, more than 11 million maritime containers arrive at US seaports each year; 10 million shipments arrive by truck; and three million arrive by rail. Additionally, a quarter billion cargo, postal, and express packages arrive by air. In addition to identification and interdiction methods, section 3 also offers recommendations on how to curb the global trade of counterfeit and pirated goods through collaboration efforts among stakeholders.

The final goal laid out in section 4 is to promote strategies that enhance effective enforcement of IP rights. The report compares the US “whole of government” approach and the specialized office approach. It also recommends frameworks and policies to support modern intellectual property enforcement efforts through new technology and innovation.