A recent bill introduced in the house, entitled
“Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of
2007,” or PRO IP for short, casts an eye towards improving international
cooperation and enforcement of IP rights.


The bill, introduced by John Conyers of Michigan,
proposes that the United States Patent and Trademark Office appoint 10
intellectual property attachés to serve in United States embassies or other
diplomatic missions. Their mission would include assisting “United States persons holding intellectual
property rights, and the licensees of such United States persons, in their
efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy of their products or works within
the host country, including counterfeit or pirated goods exported from or
transshipped through that country.”


International infringement of American works has become a
more salient issue in recent years, as previously discussed in CyberLawg. Appointing
these additional attaches is a low-cost but potentially high reward
arrangement. By educating developing countries about IP protection the United States
has opportunity maintain its citizens’ IP interests while similarly working to
build better overall political relations with developing nations.

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