U.S. House Passes Intellectual Property Enforcement Bill

On May 8, 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4279, known as the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act  — “PRO IP” for short.  The bill would revise various enforcement-related revisions to U.S. copyright and trademark laws.  Key sections of the bill include:

  • a revision to the Copyright Act protecting the validity of copyright registrations that have a harmless error — specifically, the revision will excuse any inaccuracy in a copyright certificate of registration so long as the inaccuracy was not knowingly put into the application and correction of the inaccuracy would not result in refusal of registration;
  • sections increasing statutory damages in counterfeiting actions and allowing treble damages in trademark infringement actions involving counterfeit goods if the violation was intentional;
  • an expansion of Section 602 of the Copyright Act (which prohibits importation of infringing copies) to also cover exportation;
  • a section increasing the government’s authority to sieze property used in connection with copyright infringement; and
  • the creation of an IP Enforcement Division in the U.S. Department of Justice, the appointment of an IP adviser to the President, and the appointment of IP enforcement officers in foreign countries.

A companion bill is expected to be introduced into the U.S. Senate soon. 

UPDATE:  President Bush signed the bill into law on October 13, 2008.

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