Homeland Security Hearing Should Emphasize Intellectual Property Protections and Stopping Piracy
At 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, the House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing with new U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson entitled “The Secretary’s Vision for the Future – Challenges and Priorities.” The hearing provides a perfect opportunity for Chairman Michael McCaul (R – Texas) and his committee to emphasize America’s commitment to Intellectual Property (IP) protections, and to ensure that combating IP theft – both the anti-counterfeiting operations and efforts to stop online IP piracy – remain on the front burner.
Correctly and justifiably, many divisions and agencies within the Department focus on national security, but it would also be useful for the Committee members to discuss others that have a role in our economic well-being. A large and diverse coalition of businesses recently came together to write Secretary Johnson, stressing upon him the importance of protecting American ingenuity and our competitive edge by reinforcing the need for strong enforcement of IP. American companies continue to create the world’s most innovative goods and products, and fully two-thirds of all U.S. exports come from industries that depend on the recognition of strong IP rights.
Unfortunately, whenever creators succeed in building brands that consumers come to trust, there will in turn be nefarious characters who seek ill-gotten profit from someone else’s good name and hard work. Fake consumer products, medicines, apparel and other goods can be found online, and unsuspecting shoppers end up with inferior, even dangerous products from unknown sources both domestic and abroad. Consequently, absent significant effort by U. S. enforcement agencies, those knock-off goods can end up in hurting both the purchaser and the company unfairly being copied. Whether manifested by state-sponsored theft of U.S. military technology, Eastern-bloc crime bosses using revenue of fake goods to fund their syndicates or simply domestic swindlers trying to scam consumers, U. S. policy makers and officials need to do what it takes to stop the bad guys to help ensure fair play as well as our safety.
Emphasizing that point at tomorrow’s hearing will provide an important step in that path.