Leaders of the House Judiciary Committee today introduced an intellectual property rights enforcement bill. They hope that the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2007 ("PRO IP") will improve federal agency enforcement efforts and provide more resources to those efforts.

The bill was introduced by House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers,
Jr., D-Mich.; ranking member Lamar Smith, R-Tex.; Subcommittee on Courts,
the Internet and Intellectual Property chairman Howard Berman, D-Calif.; and
Reps. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.; Tom Feeney R-Fla.; Darrell Issa, R-Calif.; Steve Chabot, R-Ohio; Steve Cohen D-Tenn.; Ric Keller, R-Fla.; Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Tex.; Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; and Robert Wexler D-Fla.

"The Subcommittee on Intellectual Property will be holding a hearing next week on this extremely important issue," Berman said in a statement. The committee members will be "hearing testimony from both industry experts and from labor and consumer advocates to make sure that in doing so, we don't deny appropriate access to America's intellectual property."

Specifically, the PRO IP bill is intended to:

* Strengthen the substantive civil and criminal laws relating to copyright and trademark infringement;
* Establish the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER), in the executive office of the president, to enhance nationwide and international coordination of intellectual property enforcement efforts;
* Appoint intellectual property officers to work with foreign countries in their efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy;
* Authorize the creation of a permanent Intellectual Property Division within the Department of Justice to improve law enforcement coordination. The bill would transfer the functions of the existing Computer Crime and Intellectual Property section (CCIPs) that relate to IP enforcement to the new IP division;
* Provide the DOJ with new resources targeted to improve IP law enforcement,
including local law enforcement grants and additional investigative and
prosecutorial personnel; and
* Require the DOJ to prepare an annual report that details its IP
enforcement activities.

"This legislation is an important and necessary step in the fight to maintain our competitive edge in a global marketplace," Conyers said in a statement. "By providing additional resources for enforcement of intellectual property, we ensure that innovation and creativity will continue to prosper in our society."