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Washington, D.C. - Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Jon Dudas today told reporters that protecting intellectual property against piracy and counterfeiting is a key part of economic growth in Kansas City.
"Intellectual property is growing in importance to the local economy in and around Kansas City," noted Under Secretary Dudas. "Kansas City was recently named the number one place in the Midwest to start a business, and intellectual property protection is critical to both new and established businesses alike."
"The residents of Missouri and Kansas realize the importance of intellectual property protection as evidenced by the more than 3,200 patent applications they filed in the past year."
" Kansas City has been recognized for its strength and growth in biotechnology, an industry for which patent protection is singularly important," Dudas continued. "Business owners in Kansas City want to understand the intellectual property system for success in today's global market."
Dudas emphasized that intellectual property theft costs U.S. businesses approximately $250 billion annually and hundreds of thousands of jobs. 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.