By: J.J. Brannock | The Center Square
Federal lawmakers are raising increasing concerns about Chinese intellectual property theft.
Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party Chariman Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., and Committee on Small Business Chairman Roger Williams, R-Texas., sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking about the Department of Justice’s efforts to combat Chinese intellectual property theft.
The chairmen said their committees are “deeply concerned about the pervasive threat of Chinese intellectual property theft and its impact on American small businesses – the backbone of our economy.” They requested information on the Department of Justice’s efforts in addressing this threat.
According to the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, Chinese IP theft costs the U.S. economy up to $600 billion annually as of 2017.
Some examples of this economic loss include the creation of counterfeit inventions stolen from small businesses that spent tens of thousands of dollars to patent. The Chinese counterfeiters simply copied the patents, registered them in China, and began selling them on Chinese e-commerce markets.
Williams and Gallagher said in the letter that “the Department has a Task Force on Intellectual Property that ‘is part of a Department-wide initiative to confront the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes’ and ‘works to identify and implement a multi-faceted strategy with our federal, state, and international partners to effectively combat this type of crime.’
“However, it remains unclear as to how many Chinese entities are held accountable for their illegal activities,” the letter added.
The committees requested that the DOJ provide them with a briefing, including overviews on the current measures to help small businesses protect their intellectual property, to investigate IP theft and hold those guilty parties accountable, mainly in China, and to explain how the Protect American IP Act was implemented.
They also asked for detailed plans for strengthening investigative efforts to ensure protection against IP theft, information on the DOJ’s collaboration with state and local governments to investigate IP theft cases, and details on the department’s plans to combat counterfeit products also be included in the report.
Gallagher and Williams requested the detailed briefing no later than June 30th.
The two chairmen, as well as Vice Chairman of the Committee on Small Business Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., and 19 other members of Congress, all signed the letter.