The House of Representatives yesterday (Sept. 21) passed legislation bolstering intellectual property protection. The "Intellectual Property Protection and Courts Improvements Act of 2004," H.R. 3632

The House of Representatives yesterday (Sept. 21) passed legislation bolstering intellectual property protection. The "Intellectual Property Protection and Courts Improvements Act of 2004," H.R. 3632, passed by voice vote.

The bill, incorporating several earlier bills, aims to help ensure that consumers are able to know whether they are buying legitimate software, music or movies, or are being cheated by counterfeiters who forge authentication labels or steal legitimate ones.

In a written statement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wisc.), says, "These counterfeited and illicit labels are then attached to counterfeit products defrauding consumers into thinking that they have purchased a legitimate copy of the product, when they have not.

"The middleman who traffics in illicit and counterfeit labels can walk away from his crime with no penalties. H.R. 3632 would close this loophole and ensure that everyone who undertakes a scheme to defraud consumers faces criminal penalties."

In addition, the legislation provides for additional penalties for those who use false domain-name contact information to commit crimes.

H.R. 3632 ensures that those who use false domain-name contact information in conjunction with a crime would face additional penalties of up to seven years or double the underlying penalty, whichever is less.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.