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May 15, 2006
#06-31

Contact:
Brigid Quinn
(571) 272-8400 or
brigid.quinn@uspto.gov

Press Release, 06-31

U.S. Government Brings Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Program to Ohio

Efforts Focus on Small Businesses That are Particularly Vulnerable

Columbus, Ohio — United States Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Stephen Pinkos and Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) today warned members of Ohio's small business community that they are at risk of overseas intellectual property theft—even if they do not export. Both Deputy Under Secretary Pinkos and Senator Voinovich urged America's small businesses to consider protective action.

In remarks before the "Conference on Intellectual Property in the Global Marketplace," sponsored by the Commerce Department's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Pinkos and Voinovich emphasized the importance to businesses of obtaining intellectual property protection both in the United States and overseas. Pinkos noted that in 2004, more than 850,000 businesses (or 98 percent of all businesses) in Ohio were small businesses, employing nearly 50 percent of the non-farm private workforce in Ohio. And Ohio's exports are significant. It was the seventh largest exporting state last year, and the ninth largest export state to China, sending more than $934 million worth of goods. Ohio's exports to China have more than tripled since 2000.

"Piracy and counterfeiting around the world are on the rise," Pinkos said. "Intellectual property theft worldwide costs American companies $250 billion a year and—by extension—hurts American workers and their families." The goal of our seminar in Columbus is giving small businesses the information they need to protect their intellectual property assets in the U.S. and around the world."

While counterfeiting and piracy pose a serious threat to all American businesses, small businesses are particularly at risk because they often lack the knowledge and expertise to effectively combat it. Because small businesses typically do not have personnel or maintain large operations in other countries, theft of their intellectual property overseas can go undetected.

This seminar is the latest in a series the USPTO is hosting across the country to help educate American small businesses about the realities of piracy and counterfeiting. During the two-day seminar in Columbus, intellectual property experts from the agency provided attendees with details and useful tips about protecting and enforcing their intellectual property rights in the United States and around the world.

The Columbus seminar represents one of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's many efforts to educate small businesses about intellectual property protection. 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.

The seminars and website are part of a much larger USPTO and federal government effort known as the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP). The STOP initiative 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 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 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.

For more information about the U.S. government's efforts to educate American businesses about intellectual property rights, visit www.stopfakes.gov.

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