The protection of intellectual property rights is a key priority for the United States. IP crimes cost businesses and governments billions of dollars every year, discourage innovation and research, and even put human and animal life in danger. Many people are unaware of pirating operations' links to organized crime and terrorism, counterfeiters' use of human trafficking and child labor, accidents caused by counterfeit car parts and airplane parts, deaths and injuries caused by counterfeit medicines, fires caused by pirated electrical equipment, and damages to crops and the environment caused by pirated agrochemicals.
The U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Department of State have many resources to aid businesses and governments in the protection of Intellectual Property Rights around the world.
A wealth of information on protecting IP is freely available to U.S. rights holders. Some excellent resources for companies regarding intellectual property include the following:
- For information about patent, trademark, or copyright issues -- including enforcement issues in the US and other countries -- call the STOP! Hotline: 1-866-999-HALT or register at www.StopFakes.gov.
- For more information about registering trademarks and patents (both in the U.S. as well as in foreign countries), contact the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at: 1-800-786-9199.
- For more information about registering for copyright protection in the US, contact the US Copyright Office at: 1-202-707-5959.
- For more information about how to evaluate, protect, and enforce intellectual property rights and how these rights may be important for businesses, a free online training program is available at www.stopfakes.gov.
- For information on obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights and market-specific IP Toolkits visit: www.StopFakes.gov. This site is linked to the USPTO website for registering trademarks and patents (both in the U.S. as well as in foreign countries), the U.S. Customs & Border Protection website to record registered trademarks and copyrighted works (to assist customs in blocking imports of IP-infringing products) and allows you to register for Webinars on protecting IP.
- The U.S. Commerce Department has positioned IP attachés in key markets around the world. You can get information from Dorian Mazurkevich, the IP attaché who covers Nicaragua, at: Dorian.Mazurkevich@trade.gov.
In addition to U.S. government resources, there are many other organizations that aid in the protection of Intellectual Property Rights, such as the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the International Intellectual Property Alliance, and others.
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