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For Immediate Release
June 20, 2005
U.S.-EU Working Together to Fight Against Global Piracy and Counterfeiting
Growing global piracy and counterfeiting threatens the competitiveness of innovative industries, the livelihoods of creative artists and workers, and the health and safety of consumers in the European Union, the United States and beyond. Driven by new technologies that make it easy to rapidly produce infringing goods in commercial quantities and by fraudulent organizations, including organized criminal syndicates, that use the Internet and global trading lanes to distribute and sell those goods worldwide, this illicit activity substantially deprives rights holders of a legitimate income from their ideas, designs, brands and inventions. According to the World Customs Organization (WCO), pirated and counterfeit goods account for roughly seven to nine percent of global trade, and customs seizures of intellectual property infringing goods at EU external frontiers and U.S. borders have increased dramatically in recent years, with a 1000% increase in intercepted counterfeit goods by EU Customs between 1998 and 2004. The last five years saw a tripling of seizures of counterfeit goods by U.S. Customs.
We are committed to working effectively to combat piracy and counterfeiting at home and abroad and recently have taken heightened measures to strengthen our respective IP enforcement efforts. In April 2004, the EU adopted a directive aimed at harmonizing enforcement of intellectual property rights, while in July 2004 a new Customs Regulation came into force which aims at improving mechanisms for customs action against counterfeit and pirated goods. In October 2004, the United States announced a Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!) designed to reduce trade in pirated and counterfeit goods, dismantle criminal networks that traffic in fakes, and help small businesses secure and enforce their intellectual property rights. In November 2004, the European Commission adopted a strategy for enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries. This strategy set out guidelines for the European Commission's actions towards a reduction of the level of intellectual property violations in third countries, using political dialogue and technical assistance.
To further the efforts noted previously and to strengthen cooperation on intellectual property issues to promote innovation and protect health and safety, the U.S. and the EU will take the following actions: