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Addressing the Global Scope of Intellectual Property Crimes and Policy Initiatives

NCJ Number
Trends in Organized Crime Volume: 8 Issue: 4 Dated: Summer 2005 Pages: 79-108
Hedieh Nasheri
Date Published
30 pages
This paper surveys the current worldwide response to intellectual property (IP) crime and raises policy considerations for the future.
Intellectual property, which stems from unique ideas and concepts that can be transferred into marketable products, can be reproduced quickly and inexpensively with little chance of detection. The economic impact of the misuse and theft of intellectual property is far-reaching. This paper assesses the state-of-the-art and evidence of weaknesses in current law, its enforcement domestically and internationally, problems of application and training, and other matters that can be used to assist researchers in this area. The author conducted an archival review of documents and publications related to IP, as well as interviews with representatives of selected interest groups. The paper first defines IP, followed by the identification and description of the two categories of IP: industrial property and copyright and related rights. This is followed by a discussion of organized crime's involvement in IP crimes, which includes consideration of future economic crime risks. An overview of the magnitude of IP theft considers the following typically affected products: computer software, music, films, luxury goods and fashion wear, sportswear, perfumes, toys, aircraft components, automobile components, pharmaceuticals, and watches. A section on technological advances and their impact on IP law and policy addresses the Internet, e-commerce, and "cybersquatters." Other sections of the paper address intellectual property laws, the criminalization of IP violations in the United States, antipiracy laws in the United States, initiatives in the enforcement of IP rights, the perception of IP crimes as "victimless" crimes, law enforcement challenges, what needs to be done, possible solutions for IP crimes, and future policy considerations for protecting IP rights. 65 notes and 46 references