For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

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Friday, 29 April 2011

Fordham IP Conference 2011: part 6

 Victoria calls for "actual cooperation, not just
fluffy conversation at the top level"
The IPKat's final report on the Fordham IP Conference brings you news of the keynote address of Victoria Espinel, the White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC). "What a difference a year makes", she said as she compared her somewhat sparse message at the conference a year ago with the cornucopia of exciting news that she conferred upon the corresponding audience this lunchtime.

Having compressed her one-year allocated for crafting a strategic plan into just six months, Victoria told us how much effort has gone into seeking consensus -- an effort which has borne fruit in uniting business and labour, Democrats and Republicans and all sorts of other warring factions in support of a vigorous pro-IP policy at home and abroad.  Dialogue, not consultation, is her aim, and she maintains it with the Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other concerned bodies (a total of 17,000 Federal employees are apparently involved in IP enforcement issues of one sort or another).

A rare sight at Fordham: Hugh Hansen unable
to interrupt a speaker. What might be be thinking ...?
Asserting that the US must lead by example, Victoria declared that the best place to start is at home, making sure that Federal procurement involves only lawful product and proper software licences, keeping all infringing goods out of the Federal supply chain.  She also emphasised the need to help US businesses overseas by deploying personnel on foreign soil, notably China -- where many US businesses require guidance and assistance in seeking to protect and enforce their IP rights.  Other activity she mentioned included the proposal for raising the penalty for trade secrets theft via a new industrial espionage bill, and the In Our Sites initiative which is said to be achieving highly positive results in its early stages, with four crackdowns on rogue websites resulting in the seizure of 100 or so domain names.

Victoria's message was a positive and impressive one, quite at odds with some of the downbeat assessments privately expressed by some of the conference participants about having to learn to live with a level of infringement that we can't bring down.  It is a message which the IPKat will be taking back to England with him and which he looks forward to drawing to the attention of the All Party Parliamentary Intellectual Property Group (here) next month.

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