Thursday, November 08, 2007, 11/08/2007 01:26:00 PM

Chariman of DOJ Task Force on Intellectual Property Releases Statement Made to Senate Judiciary Committee

By Todd
It's clear that the Department of Justice has gotten serious about domestic and foreign intellectual property crimes. Just how serious, however, is proven by statistics released in the Chairman's statement:

"Of course, at the core of the Department's IP enforcement program are criminal prosecutions, and we have worked hard to increase both the quality and the number of intellectual property prosecutions nationwide. Through the dedicated efforts of U.S. Attorney's Offices, our Criminal Division, and law enforcement across the country, the Department filed 217 intellectual property cases in FY 2007, representing a 7 percent increase over cases reported in FY2006 (204), and a 33 percent increase over cases reported in FY2005 (169). Also in FY2007, 287 defendants were convicted and sentenced on intellectual property charges, representing a 35 percent increase over FY2006 (213) and a 92 percent increase over FY 2005 (149).

The increase in prosecutions in FY 2007 was not an aberration, but rather reflects a continuing upward trend. For example, in FY 2006, federal prosecutors convicted 187 defendants of criminal copyright and trademark offenses alone - an increase of 57 percent over the prior year. Thirty-nine (39) of those defendants received terms of imprisonment of 25 months or more, a 130 percent increase from the 17 sentenced to such terms in 2005. Indeed, in the previous year (FY 2005), the Department prosecuted twice the number of defendants for intellectual property violations than it had in 2004."

Good news for intellectual property owners and innovators - bad news for intellectual property thieves.

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