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June 20, 2008

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Ruth Nyblod or Jennifer Rankin Byrne
(571) 272-8400 or
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Press Release, 08-25

USPTO and the Computing Technology Industry Association Educate Maryland Businesses about the Importance of Intellectual Property Protection and the Risks of Counterfeiting and Piracy

Washington, D.C. – The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) today informed Maryland businesses about the growing threats of counterfeiting and piracy, while also providing information on how businesses can protect and enforce their own intellectual property rights in the United States and overseas.

“Maryland inventors received more than 1,400 patents in fiscal year 2007,” noted Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. “Because more and more American intellectual property owners compete in a global marketplace, we must make sure that they have sufficient knowledge and legal tools to protect themselves from international pirates and counterfeiters who are robbing billions of dollars from the U.S. economy.”

In a seminar held today in Baltimore, Md., business leaders heard from patent, trademark, and copyright experts from the USPTO and officials from the Department of Justice who provided attendees with specific details and useful tips about protecting and enforcing their intellectual property rights in the United States and around the world. The USPTO encourages small businesses to include IP protection in their business plan--considering if they need to secure IP protection, what type of protection to apply for, when and where to apply, and how to go about it.

“Today’s event provides especially useful information for the ‘small guy’ developer or inventor,” noted co-host Chris Katopis, Director of Intellectual Property Policy for CompTIA. “While Silicon Valley may be home to some of the largest IT companies in the world, innovation occurs in our country every day, in every city. And, perhaps the next great tech company may be started in Baltimore through the lessons learned from today’s IP protection seminar.”

This program is part of CompTIA’s educational outreach, the Federal Government's Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP) and the USPTO's continuing commitment to increase public awareness of intellectual property rights and the enforcement of those rights in the global marketplace.

As part of the initiative by the Bush administration called Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!), the USPTO has conducted free seminars around the country to educate businesses on how they can protect themselves against counterfeiting and piracy. While counterfeiting and piracy pose a serious threat to all American businesses, small- to medium-sized businesses are particularly at risk because they may be unfamiliar with these issues and lack the expertise and resources to combat them, meaning theft of their intellectual property can go undetected. The USPTO also has a website specifically for small- to medium-sized businesses that provides information on the risks of counterfeiting and piracy and illustrates how these businesses can mitigate those risks by making IP protection a priority. Materials and other information about the awareness campaign are available at www.stopfakes.gov/smallbusiness.

The STOP initiative combats 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.

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

For more information about CompTIA’s intellectual property policy advocacy, please visit http://www.comptia.org/issues/us.aspx, or call 202-543-3003.

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