Protecting Intellectual Property Rights: Copyrights, Trademarks and Trade Secrets
- Guidelines for Prosecution of Violations of Intellectual Property Rights
- Operation "Counter Copy"
- No Electronic Theft ("NET") Act
- The Economic Espionage Act
- Violation of I.B.M. Trademark Results in $3.3 Million Fine and Restitution for Chicago-Area Company
A. Guidelines for Prosecution of Violations of Intellectual Property Rights
(Copyrights, Trademarks and Trade Secrets)
The importance of the protection of intellectual property to the economic well-being and security of the United States cannot be overestimated. The Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section wrote the attached manual to assist law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of violations of federal criminal copyright, trademark, and trade secret laws. Section I of the manual contains an overview of the protection of intellectual property, and discusses the basic scope of copyright, trademark, and trade secret and patent law. Section II focuses on intellectual property entitled to copyright protection and Section III describes the applicability of various federal criminal statutes to copyright infringement. Section IV addresses the prosecution for trafficking in counterfeit goods under 18 U.S.C. § 2320. Section V discusses the prosecution of trade secret thefts and analyzes the recently enacted Economic Espionage Act of 1996. Finally, Section VI contains a list of contact persons, model indictments, search warrant affidavits, jury instructions, state criminal trade secret statutes, and the legislative history of the Copyright Felony Act and the Economic Espionage Act of 1996.
- Table of Contents
- Download the Manual WordPerfect file [###K].
B. Operation "Counter Copy"
In early May, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation released the first results of a nationwide law enforcement effort to crack down on trademark and copyright fraud, which is estimated to cost American businesses millions of dollars each year and cheat unsuspecting consumers who purchase counterfeit products. As a result of the joint effort, called Operation "Counter Copy," 35 indictments were returned since the beginning of April for copyright or trademark infringement. More information about Operation Counter Copy, including a press release and brief summaries of the cases, are available via the links below.
C. No Electronic Theft ("NET") ActComputers are changing the way that copyrighted goods are being illegally copied and distributed, creating new challenges for copyright owners and for law enforcement.
- The Statement of Kevin V. DiGregory, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division before the Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property of the House Committee on the Judiciary, presented September 11, 1997, describes how law enforcement is addressing this challenge and expresses the Department's support for the goals of H.R. 2265, The "No Electronic Theft ('NET') Act."
- A one page Summary of Statement is also available.On Tuesday, December 16, 1997, President Clinton signed into law H.R. 2265, the No Electronic Theft ("NET") Act. The NET Act provides for enhanced protection of copyrights and trademarks by amending provisions in titles 17 and 18 of the U.S. Code. Most notably, the NET Act permits federal prosecution of large-scale, willful copyright infringement even where the infringer does not act for a commercial purpose or for private financial gain. This amendment closes the gap in statutory protection discussed in United States v. LaMacchia, 871 F. Supp. 535 (D. Mass. 1994). A summary of the statutory amendments, as well as a draft of the statute as amended (both with and without redlining) may be accessed via the links below:
D. The Economic Espionage ActThe Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section is also charged with evaluating all requests for approval of charges under the Economic Espionage Act and making a recommendation regarding the approval of such requests to the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, or Assistant Attorney General. In addition, the Section also prosecutes certain Economic Espionage cases directly.
Four Pillars Case
One well-publicized case currently being prosecuted by the Section involves the alleged theft of trade secrets by the Four Pillars Enterprise Company, LTD, of Taiwan from an American corporation. Press releases relating to that case can be found below.
E. Violation of I.B.M. Trademark Results in $3.3 Million Fine and Restitution for Chicago-Area CompanyOn November 19, 1998, Desktop Sales, Inc., now doing business as VisionTek, Inc., pleaded guilty to violating a federal criminal trademark law by distributing computer memory boards in counterfeit International Business Machine Corp. (IBM) boxes. The computer hardware firm based in a Chicago suburb pleased guilty and agreed to pay $3.3 million in fines and restitution. Additional information about this case may be accessed by the following link:
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