USPTO seeks public comment aimed at steering future anti-piracy strategy

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The US government is no bystander when it comes to policy and initiatives relating to piracy and anti-piracy.  Active efforts against piracy are ongoing across the federal government, ranging from the Office of the US Trade Representative to the US Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies including the FBI; on their own and in collaboration with other agencies within the US and abroad.

On May 24, the US Patent and Trademark Office opened a 90-day comment period that ends at 11:59pm on August 23, 2023, to collect guidance from knowledgeable sources as well as public opinion on the subject.  News of the notice was posted in the US Federal Register.

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A docket page on the Web site provides details: “The USPTO requests information from all interested parties, including stakeholders, trademark and copyright owners affected by the sale of counterfeited and pirated goods, online and physical sellers and marketplaces, other online platforms, consumers, and other parties engaged in the fight against counterfeited and pirated goods entering the stream of commerce and reaching the hands of consumers.”

October roundtable

The USPTO will then host a round table meeting at its offices in Alexandria, Virginia, on October 3, 2023, about the topics listed in this May 23 notice.  Advance registration is required.  Those who are interested in attending or in participating as a panelist may contact the USPTO online via this post on the USPTO Web site. Interested parties may also attend the October event virtually

Topics of interest

The USPTO roundtable will provide a forum for consumers, IP rights holders, representatives of online and physical marketplaces and platforms, and other private sector stakeholders to discuss:

  • The recent evolution and growth in counterfeiting and piracy.
  • The types of harms that have been observed from the sale of counterfeit and pirated products.
  • Successful anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy strategies.
  • Successful collaborative efforts between public and private partnerships to combat the sale of counterfeit and pirated products.
  • Effective technological solutions that are being used to stem the flow of counterfeit and pirated products entering into the marketplace.

The roundtable is open to the public, and there is no charge to attend.

Prior work

The USPTO published a report about the piracy landscape in 2020. which was prepared by three academic contributors from Carnegie Mellon University and Chapman University.

No mention is made in the current notices that any report will be published after the current consultation ends in August or after the meeting in October 2023.

Further reading and to attend

Meeting notice: Future Strategies in Anticounterfeiting and Antipiracy. Notice. May 24, 2023. Posted by the US Patent and Trademark Office.  Read further details.  Submit a comment and read comments by others.

Department of Commerce. Patent and Trademark Office [Docket No. PTO-C-2023-0006]. Future Strategies in Anticounterfeiting and Antipiracy. Notice. Posted May 25, 2023. US Federal Register

Register to attend the October Roundtable: Future strategies in anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy. US Patent and Trademark Office. October 3, 2023.

Piracy Landscape Study: Analysis of existing and emerging research relevant to intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement of commercial-scale piracy.  Report. March 20, 2020. Danaher, Smith, Telang. Delivered via USPTO Web site.

fWhy it matters

A report for Parks Associates written by Piracy Monitor’s managing director Steve Hawley estimates cumulative revenue lost by streaming video providers to piracy to exceed $113 Billion in the US alone, by 2027 year-end.

The USPTO’s notice reminds us that “Counterfeit and pirated products are readily available to U.S. consumers through all forms of commerce, including physical markets, ecommerce, and social media sites. Many of these products endanger public health and safety as well as national security, and their presence is growing: in fiscal year 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection made over 27,000 seizures. The estimated retail value of these seized products added up to more than $3.3. billion, an increase of 152% over the previous year.

“The trade in counterfeit and pirated products negatively impacts American innovation and erodes the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers and workers. For example, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, digital video piracy conservatively causes lost domestic revenues of at least $29.2 billion, and as much as $71.0 billion, annually.”

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