U.S. Representative Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) was pleased that today the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amended version of HR 32, the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act. The bill now goes to the White House where it is expected that President George W. Bush will sign it into legislation. The Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act would:
1. Expand the scope of trademark violations to include sale of counterfeit labels (patches, medallions, etc.) and;
2. Increase penalties for trademark violations so that not only the counterfeit products themselves would be seized and destroyed, as required by current law, but that assets gained from or used in the production and/or sale of counterfeit goods would also be seized and destroyed.
“This bill is a step in the right direction,” said Smith. “Federal law enforcement officials estimate that sales of counterfeit goods now total approximately $500 billion a year. That’s a staggering figure that hurts commerce in the United States. This bill would not only help American businesses by cracking down on counterfeiters, but would also strengthen our hand in negotiating trade agreements with other countries where counterfeiting of U.S. products is a major problem. Having these stronger laws on the books in the U.S. will allow the U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate stronger trademark protections with our future trade partners.”