Schiff Calls on Attorney General to Establish a Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property Enforcement

Official Seal of the US House of Representatives

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 Contact: Sean Oblack (202) 225-4176

Schiff Calls on Attorney General to Establish a Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property Enforcement

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Adam Schiff authored a bipartisan letter cosigned by 23 current and former House Judiciary Committee colleagues calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to establish a task force in the Department of Justice (DOJ) dedicated to intellectual property enforcement.  With limited resources at DOJ for intellectual property enforcement, the letter suggests that such a task force can streamline efforts and help determine the most efficient and effective federal solutions to protecting intellectual property. The letter’s cosigners included the House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-TX). 

“Intellectual Property production is a vital engine that drives the Southern California economy and pumps billions of dollars and countless jobs into the national economy,” said Schiff.  “However, with advancements in technology piracy is growing every day and taking money out of the pockets of American workers.  We owe it to hardworking Americans, like the stagehand in Burbank or the computer programmer in the Silicon Valley, to give intellectual property enforcement the attention it deserves in the Department of Justice.”

Below is the text of the letter sent to Attorney General Holder.

November 3, 2009

The Honorable Eric Holder
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

On March 31, 2004, Attorney General John Ashcroft created a Justice Department Task Force on Intellectual Property, chaired by his Deputy Chief of Staff.  The Task Force’s October 2004 Report indicated that its mission was, “to examine all of the Department of Justice’s intellectual property enforcement efforts and to explore methods for the Justice Department to strengthen its protection of the valuable intellectual resources.”  We believe the Task Force played a critical role in focusing the Department’s limited resources on the most efficient and effective federal solutions to intellectual property theft.  Indeed, Congress worked to address many of the issues and needs identified by the Task Force in the “PRO-IP Act of 2008” signed into law last fall.

We are writing to encourage you to establish a similar group of experienced experts from across the Department’s different disciplines, and to constitute them under the leadership of a senior official from within the Office of the Attorney General.   

America’s economic future is tied to intellectual property.  Thus, it is critical that the federal government have mechanisms in place to vigorously enforce intellectual property laws and cultivate an environment where creative and innovative industries can flourish. 

To meet with success, the Task Force must be under the direction of a senior official working under your authority; an expert whom policymakers can turn to in order to provide input into your Department’s efforts and allocation of resources in this area.  At the same time, private industry and victims of intellectual property crimes need an empowered leader they can turn to in order to seek assistance, provide intelligence about emerging threats, and help the Department set meaningful enforcement priorities.  As strong supporters of the recently nominated Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, we believe that individual would be well-supported by a Task Force leader who could establish a clear line into the Department of Justice’s policy and enforcement personnel and priorities.