On April 26, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the appointment of 15 new Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) positions and 20 FBI Special Agents dedicated to combating domestic and international intellectual property (IP) crimes.
The announcement follows the Department's establishment in February of the Task Force on Intellectual Property. In an op-ed in The National Law Journal on April 26, Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grindler called the protection of intellectual property rights "vital to America's economic prospects" and called aggressive enforcement a "top priority of the Department." These unequivocal statements and the devotion of significant new resources highlight the Department's focus on prosecuting IP crimes.
The 15 new AUSA positions will be part of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) program, a network of more than 200 specially trained federal prosecutors. They will work closely with the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) to aggressively pursue high-tech crimes. The new positions will be located in California, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
The 20 new FBI Special Agents will be stationed in the District of Columbia, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, four geographic areas with existing intellectual property squads. These new dedicated Special Agents represent a major increase for the Bureau and will significantly bolster the existing 31 Special Agents focused on IP crimes.
The announced appointments will considerably strengthen the Department's enforcement capacities. Companies should expect to see a rising number of investigations and prosecutions by the Department.
Day Pitney's White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations practice group has extensive experience representing corporate clients and individuals in federal and state criminal investigations involving alleged violations of laws designed to punish IP theft. In addition to, or instead of, criminal sanctions, state and U.S. IP laws may provide substantial civil penalties or compensatory damages for IP violations, or may provide for injunctive relief. Day Pitney's IP department has experienced lawyers to help both IP owners and those accused of IP infringement defend their respective rights. Together, the IP and White Collar Defense groups can help you protect and/or defend your rights, including in the civil enforcement and criminal prosecution arenas. Should you have questions or wish to discuss any of the issues mentioned in this article, please contact any of the individuals listed.
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