Washington, D.C. -- U.S. law enforcement officials were given more tools to combat global trade in counterfeit goods when President Bush signed HR 32 into law. SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, praised the enactment of the "Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act," which will provide additional domestic and international means to protect member companies' intellectual property. It directs that seized counterfeit goods be destroyed along with the equipment, packaging and machinery used to produce the fake goods.
"This new law closes loopholes that have allowed traffickers to market their counterfeited goods," said Stuart Gosswein, SEMA's Director of Federal Government Affairs, who attended the signing ceremony. "SEMA is grateful to Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) for introducing the legislation, and to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for their valuable contributions in helping pass this bipartisan bill."
The new law has several other important provisions beyond the mandatory seizure and destruction of counterfeit products. It also clarifies that it is illegal for counterfeiters to sell counterfeit labels, patches and medallions as stand-alone items, to be affixed later by others to fake products. The law also expands the definition of "trafficking" to penalize a transfer of counterfeit goods even if the transfer occurs without an exchange of value. Finally, the U.S. Trade Representative now has authority to require that these tough protections be included in free trade agreements.
"Counterfeit products have caused significant damage to SEMA members and their customers," said Chris Kersting, SEMA's President and CEO. "They exploit the intellectual property of our member companies, they threaten the jobs of their employees and they can ruin a company's good reputation."
Enacting the new law was a SEMA priority. To help accomplish that task, SEMA joined the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (CACP), an industry-wide effort led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and a number of other trade associations and companies. Coalition members share their expertise on intellectual property issues and raise Congressional awareness on the harm caused by counterfeiting.
SEMA and the CACP will now move forward with other initiatives to further protect trademarks, copyrights and patents. That includes more legislation to expand intellectual property protection and a push to hire more enforcement officials.