Small Businesses Especially At Risk, Says U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
Phoenix, Arizona - U. S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Jon Dudas today warned an audience of Arizona small-businessmen and -women that they are increasingly at risk of overseas intellectual property theft -- even if they do not export -- and urged them to consider protective action. In his remarks before the "Conference on the Global Intellectual Property Marketplace," sponsored by the Commerce Department's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Dudas cited Arizona's export-dependant economy-particularly the state's 300% increase in exports to China since 2000-as a major reason why businesses in the state should make intellectual property protection in the United States and overseas a priority business decision.
"Piracy and counterfeiting are on the rise around the world, and all American businesses--including the thousands of small businesses here in Arizona--are at risk," Dudas said. "The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is sponsoring seminars like this one to arm small businesses with the information they need to protect their intellectual property, in the United States as well as around the world."
While theft of intellectual property 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.
The Phoenix seminar is the second 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 (July 18-19, 2005) in Phoenix, intellectual property experts from the agency are providing attendees with details and useful tips about protecting and enforcing their intellectual property rights in the United States and around the world.
The Phoenix seminar represents one of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's many efforts to educate small businesses about intellectual property protection. Currently, the agency is conducting a nationwide awareness campaign that is providing information to small businesses about when to file for intellectual property protection, what type of protection to file for, where to file and how to go about it. The effort features outreach targeting industry sectors especially at risk of intellectual property theft, a Web site 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 campaign, in turn, is part of a much larger USPTO and federal government effort. The Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!) initiative, also directed at small businesses, 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. Patent and Trademark Office's effort to educate American businesses about intellectual property rights, visit www.uspto.gov .
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