Utica, N.Y., - Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Stephen Pinkos today told a group of ConMed officials and workers that intellectual property theft costs U.S. businesses approximately $250 billion annually and hundreds of thousands of jobs. He also applauded ConMed, a worldwide leader in innovation, for their commitment to protect one of its most important assets-intellectual property.
"Businesses should consider their intellectual property assets as part of their business planning," noted Deputy Under Secretary Pinkos. "Protecting intellectual property against piracy and counterfeiting is a key part of economic growth."
Today, the Labor Department announced that the economy gained 113,000 new jobs in the past month. Additionally, the economy has grown 4 percent this year. Unemployment is 4.8 percent, near its lowest level since July 2001 and below the average of each of the past three decades.
"With the growth of our economy, U.S. businesses are exporting more and exporting to new markets," Pinkos continued. "As exports grow, vigilance in protecting intellectual property assets becomes critical. Businesses become more vulnerable as they take new risks and market their products worldwide."
New York is the fourth largest U.S. exporter to Asia, exporting more than $2 billion to China alone in 2005, which represents a 250 percent increase in just five years.
Combating intellectual property theft is a top priority for the Bush Administration. A major federal government effort known as the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!) aims to combat criminal networks that traffic in fakes, stop trade in pirated and counterfeit goods at America's borders and help small businesses secure and enforce their rights in overseas markets. As part of the initiative, the USPTO maintains a toll-free telephone hotline, 1-866-999-HALT, that helps businesses leverage the resources of the U.S. government to protect their intellectual property rights.
The USPTO also has a website specifically designed to address the needs of small businesses, and informational materials informing small businesses about the problem and steps they can take to mitigate it. Materials and other information about the awareness campaign are available at www.stopfakes.gov/smallbusiness.