Intellectual Property Enforcement: Have your voice heard

The Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008 (the “PRO-IP Act”) enhanced civil and criminal penalties for intellectual property infringement as well as established the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator to serve in the Office of Management and Budget at the White House. The Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator has been charged with overseeing, and contributing to, the development and implementation of the Joint Strategic Plan, an inter-agency plan to combat intellectual property counterfeiting and infringement. The first Joint Strategic Plan, published in 2010, focused on (1) leading by example through a policy of not purchasing or using infringing products; (2) increasing transparency; (3) ensuring efficiency and coordination between agencies and with state and local governments; (4) enforcing rights internationally; (5) securing the supply chain; and (6) building a data-driven Government.

However, Congress recognized that plans to combat intellectual property infringement would need to evolve over time. Therefore it required that the Joint Strategic Plan be revisited every three years. In preparing for the next Joint Strategic Plan, Victoria Espinel, the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, has requested input from the general public to create a strategy that is “forceful yet thoughtful, dedicated and effective, and that makes good and efficient use of our resources.” Ms. Espinel has stated that “who better to play a key part in shaping the new Strategy than you, the American people.”

Initially, Ms. Espinel seeks specific recommendations from the public regarding the Federal government’s intellectual property enforcement efforts. The recommendations may address any issue related to intellectual property and call for responses ranging from legislation and regulation to changes to practice. Each recommendation, however, should include:

1) a detailed description that states the issue;
2) a solution; and
3) identify the agencies responsible for implementing the recommendation.

Additionally, to obtain specific information, Ms. Espinel has requested feedback to a series of questions which address the issues the Joint Strategic Plan should cover. The scope of the questions is broad, ranging from cooperation between the private and public sector for intellectual property enforcement to steps that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection can take to improve the e-recordation system. Significantly, the Coordinator has requested input on authentication tools and track and trace technologies that the federal government could use to identify counterfeit or pirated goods.

There is no one way to write comments. Comments can range from 50 page formal proposals to informal responses that are only a few paragraphs long (see examples from the 2010 process)

Here are some easy steps to follow if you would like to file comments in response to Ms. Espinel’s request:

1) Read the Request for Public Comments.
2) Follow the formatting and delivery instructions provided in the Notice>
3) Identify the issues on which you are commenting.
4) State your credentials in the licensing industry (licensor, licensee, attorney, etc.) and address the issues from your experience.
5) Indicate whether you are responding as an individual or from an official capacity for an organization or company. If you are provide some information about the organization and its interest in the issue.
6) Provide real-world examples in your response based on your experience in the licensing industry.

Please note that comments are due by 5 p.m. on June 25.

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About Nancy Prager

Nancy Prager is an attorney based in Washington, D.C. She represents a wide range of clients on matters from intellectual property to estate planning. Before starting her own practice, she practiced with firms in Memphis and Atlanta, as well as providing business development services to technology companies. She launched her practice to offer strategic legal services to clients at an affordable rate. Additionally, Nancy is a sought after speaker and writer on issues related to the convergence of intellectual property, technology and media. Nancy was asked to write a series of commentaries for News.com on the emerging legal issues related to the transmission of content on the internet. She has spoken to organizations and conferences around the country on issues related to the convergence of technology, content and intellectual property, as well as strategic legal issues for companies, individuals and artists. Journalists often rely on Nancy as a resource for emerging legal issues. Nancy has a strong commitment to social justice. She has founded, or co-founded, a number of organizations and programs that provide tangible services to their constituencies. For example, while a student in law school she developed the Domestic Violence Advocacy Center that provides legal services to victims of domestic violence. Additionally, she has been involved with a number of organizations that provide services to children and their families, including serving on the boards of the Harwood Center and Porter Leath Children’s Services. She is a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the State Bar of Georgia and the State Bar of Tennessee. She has been a member of a variety of legal organizations including the Copyright Society of the USA and the American Bar Association.
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