GAO praises anti-piracy work, but enforcement concerns linger
A congressional watchdog agency praised the Bush administration’s global efforts to stop product counterfeiting, but said many enforcement concerns persist.
“U.S. efforts have contributed to strengthened intellectual property legislation overseas, but enforcement in many countries remains weak, and further U.S. efforts face significant challenges,” said the Government Accountability Office in a report.
The GAO said “political will” to stop product counterfeiters often lacks in other countries.
U.S. anti-piracy initiatives include identifying countries with the most significant problems — an annual interagency process known as the “Special 301” review.
Last October, the Bush administration launched the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP) initiative. “Thus far, the initiative has resulted in some new actions and emphasized other ongoing efforts,” the GAO report said.
However, the GAO criticized the effectiveness of the National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination Council, created in 1999 to coordinate domestic and overseas intellectual property law enforcement. The GAO said the council has “struggled to find a clear mission, has undertaken few activities, and is generally viewed as having little impact despite recent congressional action to strengthen the council.”
The GAO report did not recommend any additional executive actions.