U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Intellectual Property: Federal Enforcement Has Generally Increased, but Assessing Performance Could Strengthen Law Enforcement Efforts

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2008
89 pages
This report presents the results of an evaluation of Federal intellectual property enforcement efforts.
The evaluation had three primary objectives: 1) examine key Federal agencies' roles, priorities, and resources devoted to IP-related enforcement; 2) evaluate agencies' IP-related enforcement statistics and achievements; and 3) examine the status of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, an interagency mechanism created to coordinate Federal investigative efforts. Key findings from the evaluation include the following: five Federal agencies are involved in IP enforcement - Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Department of Justice; while IP enforcement is not the highest priority for these agencies, IP crimes with a public health and safety risk is an IP enforcement priority; enforcement actions at these five agencies increased between 2001 and 2006 however agencies did not take steps to assess their achievements; and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center has not achieved its mission and its staff levels have decreased. Based on the findings in this report, the GAO recommends the following: the U.S. Attorney General (AG) and the Secretaries of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services should take steps to better assess and report on their agencies' IP enforcement efforts; the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct Customs and Border Protection to address the weaknesses in enforcement of exclusion orders; and the AG and Secretary of Homeland Security should clarify the purpose and structure of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. Tables, figures, and appendixes