Officials from the European Commission and U.S. government met with business representatives in Geneva Thursday (Feb. 1) to develop new methods to deal with counterfeiting and piracy.

The meeting was set in the context of a new wave of European and American initiatives, which have been established to combat the rising economic damage to industry posed by stolen technologies and fake products.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) experts in Brussels and Washington have already forged close contacts. Since their joint EU-US IPR Action Strategy was launched last year, officials have launched joint air, sea and mail raids; engaged priority countries like China and Russia; launched WTO initiatives; and involved businesses in more efforts.

However, U.S. secretary of commerce Carlos Gutierrez said the Geneva meeting underscored the importance of doing more. "We cannot let American innovators - the creative forces behind our knowledge-based economies - be left to fend for themselves. Protecting IP is not only critical to protecting consumer safety, but also to ensure a stable and growing economy," he said.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said IPR was vital for European competitiveness. "Europe's joint work with the US sends a clear signal to the intellectual property pirates that we won't tolerate counterfeiting," he said.