Detroit, Mich. - U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Jon Dudas, together with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), today educated Michigan business people about the growing threats of counterfeiting and piracy and encouraged them to make protecting their intellectual property an integral part of their business plan.
In a seminar held today at the Detroit Regional Chamber, Under Secretary Dudas noted that small businesses make up 98 percent of all employer firms in Michigan.* In addition, last year, Michigan exported more than $40 billion worth of products.** Dudas said, "Because small businesses are a big part of Michigan's economy, and growing globally, we want to make sure they understand their options when it comes to protecting their intellectual property assets both in the U.S. and abroad."
Detroit business leaders also heard from representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Anti-Counterfeiting and Piracy Initiative, Ford Motor Company, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Over the past two years, the USPTO has conducted seminars around the country to educate businesses on how they can protect themselves against counterfeiting and piracy. This year, the agency is working with the U.S. Chamber for a multi-city educational tour. Today's seminar in Detroit is the second in the series. Upcoming stops include San Antonio; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and Burlington, Vt.
While counterfeiting and piracy pose a serious threat to all American businesses, small businesses are particularly at risk because they may lack the knowledge and personnel to combat it, and theft of their intellectual property overseas can go undetected.
The Detroit seminar represents one of the USPTO's many efforts to educate small businesses about IP protection. The USPTO also has a website specifically for small businesses that provides information on the risks of counterfeiting and piracy and illustrates how small 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 seminars and website are part of a much larger initiative by President George Bush called Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP). The STOP initiative 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.
For more information about the U.S. government's efforts to educate American businesses about intellectual property rights, visit www.stopfakes.gov.
*SBA Small Business Profile
**DOC Tradestats Express