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Addressing Global Scope of Intellectual Property Law

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2004
98 pages
This study examined the current state of law and enforcement efforts in terms of the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR's).
Intellectual property describes the “ideas, inventions, technologies, artworks, music, and literature, that are intangible when they are first created, but become valuable and tangible as they become products.” IPR's are becoming a growing concern for both criminal and civil justice systems worldwide given the ease with which many types of products are quickly and inexpensively reproduced. The current study sought to assess the current laws and enforcement efforts, in a global context, aimed at the protection of IPR's, as well as to examine weaknesses in current law and enforcement efforts. Two research methodologies were employed: (1) archival review of Federal regulations, case reports, journal articles, speeches, testimony, arrest records, indictments, court records, GAO reports, Congressional hearings reports, agency reports, seminar reports, and newspaper articles; and (2) primary source interviews with corporate security professionals, security consultants, Federal prosecutors, and other key government officials. Following a description of intellectual property and the different types of piracy, a regional overview of piracy is presented that focuses on IPR violations in the North America region, the Asia/Pacific region, and the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. The impact of technological advances on IP law and policy are examined with specific focus on the role of the Internet in the commission of IPR violations. Anti-piracy laws in Europe and the United States are analyzed and significant prosecutorial accomplishments toward protecting IPR's are enumerated. Current initiatives that address IPR's are discussed, as are the challenges facing law enforcement. Best practices for the enforcement of IPR's are reviewed and future policy considerations are described, including the need to establish an intellectual property crime action group composed of stakeholders from customs, police, and private industry. Future directions for research are offered and include the need to determine where IPR violations appear most prevalent. Exhibits, notes, references

Date Published: November 1, 2004