Remarks by Director Iancu at the Anti-Counterfeiting Video Contest Award Ceremony

Remarks delivered at the Anti-Counterfeiting Video Contest Award Ceremony

Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu

April 9, 2019

Alexandria, Virginia

As prepared for delivery

Good morning everyone!  Thank you, Mary and Shira and the entire team that has worked to put this contest and awards ceremony together. I’m delighted to be here today to celebrate the winners of the 2018 anti-counterfeiting video contest who are helping us shine a light on the dangers of counterfeit goods.

At the USPTO, we launched our public education initiative on counterfeit goods last summer at the National Trademark Exposition hosted at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. We began this initiative because it is vital to educate the public on the harms of counterfeit goods. 

Counterfeit goods are fraudulent imitations of an item that are created and sold illegally. They are designed to look like safe, legitimate goods by brands we recognize and trust. All counterfeit goods impair economic competitiveness. And while they certainly undermine the reliability and trustworthiness of online marketplaces, some counterfeit goods present grave danger and health concerns to the consumer.

These counterfeit goods can pose a threat to national security, sometimes infiltrating supply chains, military, and defense assets. The Trump Administration takes the issue of counterfeit goods very seriously and continues to emphasize the importance of U.S. intellectual property enforcement efforts, including anti-counterfeiting efforts.

Just last week, President Trump issued a memorandum on Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods. In this memo, the president cites statistics from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that reveals “the value of trade in counterfeit and pirated goods to be approximately half a trillion dollars per annum, with roughly 20 percent of this trade infringing upon intellectual property” belonging to citizens of the United States.

Moreover, the anti-counterfeiting efforts were highlighted in the 2018 Annual Report to Congress by the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. That report discussed the importance of engagement and partnership with the private sector and other stakeholders on the issue. Likewise, the international community through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Advisory Committee on Enforcement continues to focus on the ongoing need for public education and assistance in combatting counterfeiting and piracy, which continue to be significant problems in the U.S. and abroad. 

In response to these challenges, WIPO continues to prioritize the need for national IP public awareness campaigns. We at the USPTO chose to launch a video contest to spread awareness because it provided two opportunities for IP education: during the contest phase as contestants prepared submissions, and during the promotional period as winning entries are conveyed to the general public. 

As you can see in your program, there is one winner in each of the five categories, along with an honorable mention. Each winner created a 60-second video highlighting the dangers of counterfeit goods. The results of this contest have been fantastic. These videos do not disappoint. While the trafficking of counterfeit goods is a serious and grave issue, it was clear the contestants had fun creating these videos. 

The creativity and research required to make such entertaining and educational videos is impressive, and I am sure the message will resonate with the public because they were created from the viewpoint of consumers. I hope you will enjoy watching these videos. The videos will also be featured on the contest page of the USPTO website.

Thank you for your hard work and congratulations to all of the winners! You deserve it.