Press Release

For Immediate Release
July 17, 2002

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

WASHINGTON, DC--The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Customs Service today announced the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center's first conference for members of Congress and industry in Washington.

The IPR Center serves as an inter-agency clearinghouse to combat the growing problem of intellectual property rights and trade related crime.

"The seriousness of intellectual property rights and the importance of protecting them is not always well understood," said Customs Commissioner Robert C. Bonner. AIPR theft undermines and saps the creativity that America is built upon."

Added Larry Mefford, Director of FBI Cyber Division: "The National Intellectual Property Rights coordination Center is designed to meet the challenge of combating intellectual property crime in the 21st century. It is a much-needed focal point designed to coordinate the efforts of industry and law enforcement and give companies a central contact for reporting suspected criminal conduct, or obtaining information regarding the protection of trade secrets and other intellectual property."

Every year, American businesses lose billions of dollars from the importation and sale of counterfeit goods, and the infringement of copyrights, trademarks, and patents. These infringements include counterfeit computer software and games, movies, clothing, jewelry, handbags, shoes and perfumes, watches, and cigarettes.

The center functions as a coordination center for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence involving copyright and trademark infringement, signal theft and theft of trade secrets. Information collected at the center is forwarded to U.S. Customs and FBI field offices around the country for further investigation.

The IPR Center works closely with industry, trade associations, rights holders, and law enforcement to address the substantial economic loss caused by intellectual property crime. Losses to counterfeiting are estimated at $200-250 billion a year in U.S. business losses.

Intellectual property crime is a priority for U.S. Customs and the FBI. The IPR Center encourages industry, trade associations, rights holders, law enforcement and the public to report intellectual property infringement violations online at www.customs.gov/iprcenter.

Referrals can also be made by calling the IPR Center at 202-927-0810 or by writing to the National IPR Coordination Center, U.S. Customs/FBI, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 3.5A1, Washington, DC 20229.

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