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December 12
U.S. Federal Agency IP Experts and Consumer Groups Address Counterfeiting at Congressional Briefing

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Congressional briefing panelists provide insight about the direct health and safety challenges presented by counterfeit goods. 

On December 6, INTA, in collaboration with the Congressional Trademark Caucus (CTC) and the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), hosted a Congressional briefing entitled “What You Need to Know about Counterfeit Products during the Holiday Shopping Season.” The briefing was held in the United States House of Representatives’ Rayburn House Office Building.

Debbie Cohn, INTA’s Senior Director of Government Relations based in Washington, D.C., provided opening remarks about the importance of education and outreach to consumers about the dangers presented by counterfeit products. Additionally, Ms. Cohn shared information about INTA’s museum exhibit, about trademarks and counterfeiting, at the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame Museum (NIHF) at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Virginia. The exhibit includes useful tips for consumers on how to avoid purchasing counterfeit goods. Ms. Cohn noted that the museum is free and open to the public, and encouraged attendees to visit the museum and see the exhibit for themselves.  

The briefing featured a special address from White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) Vishal Amin, as well as a panel featuring U.S. Federal government speakers and representatives from the business and nonprofit community. The discussion focused on intellectual property (IP) enforcement, consumer education, and awareness outreach.

With the IPEC office celebrating the 10th anniversary of its formation, Mr. Amin focused on his Office’s Joint Strategic Plan on IP Enforcement. The plan defines a roadmap for government coordination and stakeholder outreach for addressing the issues and challenges presented by counterfeiting.  

The panel included IP experts from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). It was moderated by Michael Castellano, Vice President of Government Relations from The Walt Disney Company. The speakers covered a wide range of government coordination efforts including:

  • interdiction of counterfeits at U.S. ports of entry;
  • addressing challenges presented by shipping processes; and 
  • strategies for outreach to consumers, including young consumers, about the health and safety dangers presented by counterfeit goods.  

The panel highlighted the need for consumers to be ‘smart shoppers’ on all fronts. Specifically, consumers should be encouraged to research and examine online purchasing processes before determining where to purchase goods in order to ensure that they are indeed buying the authentic goods from sources they know and trust.

A full report about the Congressional briefing and other recent events in Washington, D.C. will be published in the INTA Bulletin early in the new year.

Featured in the above photo from left to right: Moderator: Michael Castellano Vice President, Government Relations The Walt Disney Company and panelists: Jim Joholske Director, Office of Import Surveillance U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Dawn Nelson Chief, Intellectual Property Unit, National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, Homeland Security Investigations, Bradley Hayes Executive Director, Office of Trade Relations U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Ann Harkins CEO, National Crime Prevention Council and Brian Levine Senior Counsel and National CHIP Coordinator, U.S. Department of Justice . 

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