RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday unanimously passed H.R. 32, the “Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act.” The bill was introduced by Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) at the beginning of the 109th Congress with the support of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) and its members who helped craft the legislation and garner support for the resolution. Attention now turns to the Senate Judiciary Committee to act.
H.R. 32 amends the U.S. criminal code to provide trademark owners with the same protection now afforded to holders of copyrights and trade secrets. H.R. 32 mandates both the destruction of the counterfeit goods and the forfeiture of any assets traceable to illegal counterfeiting activities. It will also permit the courts to order the forfeiture of any property/equipment used to aid in the commission of the violation, such as tooling, raw materials and packaging supplies. The bill also prohibits trafficking in counterfeit labels, patches, stickers, hangtags or medallions.
“We are very pleased the House of Representatives has passed H.R. 32 and we intend to continue our hard work to obtain passage of the legislation in the Senate,” said Paul Foley, president of MEMA’s Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association and executive director of MEMA’s Brand Protection Council.
“First and foremost, product counterfeiting undermines U.S. and foreign safety standards, putting consumers at risk,” he added. “Fake, poor quality brakes, brake fluid, tires, headlights and other safety related parts and components have been found for sale. Counterfeiting is a crime that is stealing good American manufacturing jobs and hurting the brand image of legitimate manufacturers that play by the rules.”
The FBI estimates that product counterfeiting costs U.S. businesses $200 billion to $250 billion annually. Product counterfeiting is estimated to cost American automotive suppliers approximately $12 billion in lost sales annually.
“We thank Congressman Knollenberg for his tremendous support for automotive suppliers and his leadership on combating product counterfeiting. His work has provided the basis for stronger, more effective trademark protection in the United States and abroad,” Foley said. The administration has promised to fight for stronger trademark laws in foreign countries, once these amendments are built into U.S. law, he noted.
In 2004, MEMA organized its Brand Protection Council to share best industry practices to detect and prevent product counterfeiting, educate law enforcement and media to the problem and lobby for stronger laws and intellectual property rights protection at home and abroad.
For more information MEMA, go to: www.mema.org.
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