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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.