SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 20, May 19, 2011

SEMA Joins Effort to Combat Online Piracy

SEMA is working with the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (CACP), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, labor organizations, large employers and small businesses to support legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate to help shut down rogue websites that sell counterfeit goods. Entitled the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act” (PROTECT IP), the bill would authorize the Justice Department to obtain court orders requiring search engines in the United States to stop displaying links to domain names.

“Theft is theft, whether a product is stolen from the store shelf or sold as counterfeit goods over the Internet,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “The PROTECT IP BILL will provide law enforcement with more tools to combat crime involving intellectual property. Several years ago, the business community worked with Congress to update U.S. trademark law by allowing counterfeit goods to be destroyed along with the equipment used to produce the fake goods. SEMA now welcomes the opportunity to strengthen U.S. copyright law by shielding American consumers from websites that peddle pirated goods.”

The legislation is needed to address the growing problem of online sales of counterfeit and pirated goods, whether specialty auto parts, pharmaceuticals or movies. These products cost thousands of American jobs, expose consumers to health and safety threats and tarnish business reputations.

Companies can already pursue trademark infringement actions against people trafficking in counterfeit goods. However, the PROTECT IP Act would allow companies to ask the federal government to help combat infringement by blocking access to the website, search-engine references and consumer payments. The legislation is especially important in combating foreign-operated sites or domain names that are not registered through a U.S.-based registry. The PROTECT IP Act would nevertheless provide the domain operator full due process protections, including the right to argue its case in court and prove that its site is not engaged in IP theft.

For more information on the PROTECT IP Act and the campaign against online theft, please visit www.fightonlinetheft.com.

SEMA Wants to Know If You Are Threatened by Counterfeit Products

“Counterfeiting” is the deliberate imitation of a product or trademark with the intent to pass the product off as genuine. It is not the same as “knock-offs,” which are a version of the original product with some degree of difference. The degree defines whether the other product has infringed your patent, trademark or copyright or is distinctly different.

SEMA wants to better understand the threat counterfeit products pose to its members. If your company has been the target of counterfeit activity, now or in the past, please contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org or 202/783-6007, ext. 30. All information shared will be treated as confidential.

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