The US Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) issued its Annual Intellectual Property Report to Congress for 2022, which identifies the intellectual property enforcement strategies and related efforts undertaken by departments and agencies during fiscal year 2021.
Contributors include the White House, the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, State, and Treasury, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Copyright Office.
individual agency contributions, pertinent to copyright and piracy, include:
The US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), which represents the US at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and in other international intergovernmental organizations and leads a delegation to WIPO’s Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE). It runs seminars and training programs toward the enforcement of IP rights, such as Fighting Online Piracy in the Digital Environment – in the US, worldwide, and online.
The US Department of Homeland Security (HSI), which has operated an intiative called Operation Intangibles. Through this initiative, the US IPR Center collaborates with industry partners to develop effective digital piracy training for law enforcement and creates avenues of access to CCI subject matter and techincal experts for investigative assistance in disruption and dismantlement of the piracy ecosystem.
In July 2021, HSI DC executed three seizure warrants for thirteen commercial website domain names offering unauthorized copyright-protected content. The enforcement action was part of a Government of Brazil-led international operation targeting digital piracy dubbed “Operation 404.” This was an HSI DC led investigation with significant support from HSI Brasilia and the IPR Center; DOJ’s EDVA, ICHIP and CCIPS; and Brazil entities.
State and local enforcement actions by the Office of Justice Programs within the US Department of Justice include grants to local jurisdictions. During the one-year period July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020, 197 piracy/counterfeiting organizations were disrupted or dismantled.
The DoJ continues to pursue significant, large-scale piracy and counterfeiting operations. In FY 2020, the DoJ had a number of significant prosecutions domestically, in Latin America, Europe and the UK. Notorious video piracy cases include the Sparks Group, a massive TV signal piracy case in Bulgaria, and others.
Also noted in the IPEC report is the Office of the US Trade Representative, which publishes two important reports about piracy and anti-piracy initiatives. One is the Notorious Markets List, which documents “examples of online and physical markets that reportedly engage in, facilitate, turn a blind eye to, or benefit from substantial piracy or counterfeiting.” The other is the Special 301 report, which is published pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, and identifies countries that are determined to have inadequate IPR protections.
Why it matters
The report is a digest of intellectual property activity by US government agencies, listed in one place, making it an easy starting point for further research. It’s also a convenient place to see “your tax dollars at work.”