Bill to beef up DHS anti-counterfeit efforts likely to hold

Lawmakers will likely wait until after the November elections to push a bill that would channel more resources toward Homeland Security Department counterfeit detection and enforcement efforts, a consultant for a U.S. Chamber of Commerce affiliate said Monday.

The 2006 Intellectual Property Enhanced Criminal Enforcement Act (H.R. 5921), referred to the House Judiciary Committee last month, would increase penalties for producers of counterfeit goods, whose efforts cut into corporate profits and are potentially harmful to consumers. It also would add staff to counterfeit detection agencies.

Several congressional sources have said the bill won't be pursued during this session of Congress, but could be reintroduced in 2007, said Brad Huther, a consultant for the National Chamber Foundation, in a session with reporters.

"We don't think time permits" passage of the legislation, because of an already-tight calendar for the rest of this session, Huther said. The National Chamber Foundation is a nonprofit public policy think tank in Washington affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce.

Should the bill succeed next year, DHS agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, would see inspection staffs increase. The measure is sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

One source familiar with the committee's work said it is likely the legislation will be held up, but declined to rule out the possibility of passage this session. "There's a lot of support for [the bill]," the source said.

Despite that support, members of Congress tend to underestimate the impact of counterfeiting, said Caroline Joiner, the National Chamber Foundation's anti-counterfeiting director.

"Lawmakers are not very educated or informed" about the negative financial impact of counterfeiting, she said, which can approach $500 billion annually. She said that in a questionnaire, many legislators estimated that counterfeit goods only cost legitimate sellers $1 billion annually.

The bill's penalties cover counterfeit operations within the United States. But Huther said foreign governments' legal systems contribute to the counterfeiting problem, too, because they have failed to prove effective deterrents. He said two-thirds of counterfeited goods come from China and the penalties tend to be insignificant once a criminal knockoff manufacturer is caught.

"They're mostly administrative penalties," instead of criminal, said Jennifer Osika, the Chamber of Commerce's associate director for China.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.