Jennifer Rankin Byrne
(571) 272-8400 or
Washington, D.C. - Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. 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 Seattle-Tacoma.
"Intellectual property is growing in importance to the local economy in and around Seattle," noted Under Secretary Dudas. " Seattle has been ranked sixth in the nation for biotechnology industry concentration, an industry for which patent protection is singularly important."
"The residents of Washington realize the importance of intellectual property protection as evidenced by the more than 10,000 patent applications they filed in the past year," Dudas continued. "Business owners here want to understand the intellectual property system for success in today's global market."
Under Secretary Dudas also reported late-breaking news on the economy. "This morning we received very positive information about the U.S. economy. It is strong and growing at a steady pace, and the outlook is favorable."
According to the Under Secretary, the Labor Department today announced that the U.S. economy gained 167,000 new jobs in December, exceeding market expectations. The U.S. economy has added 7.2 million new jobs since August 2003. The United States' unemployment rate held steady in December at 4.5 percent, and average hourly earnings rose by 8 cents or 0.5 percent.
With the important role that intellectual property plays in the growth of both the Seattle-Tacoma and U.S. economies, combating intellectual property theft is a top priority for the Bush administration. Under Secretary Dudas emphasized that intellectual property theft costs U.S. businesses approximately $250 billion annually and hundreds of thousands of jobs. 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 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.
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.