WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Friday it will build on past initiatives aimed at cracking down on intellectual property crimes with the rollout of a collaborative strategy with the business community and third-party marketplaces.
As part of the new strategy, the FBI will partner with third-party marketplaces to ensure they have the right analytical tools and techniques to fight cyber attacks and counterfeiting on their Web sites, and also serve as a bridge between brand owners and third-party marketplaces to combat counterfeits.
Justice will also award $3.2 million in grants to state and local law enforcement agencies in 10 jurisdictions to help bolster enforcement.
The launch comes at a time of major proliferation of counterfeits and cyber attacks against the public and private sector. Federal officials made 7,922 seizures of counterfeit apparel and accessories — making it the top commodity classification — valued at $113.6 million, in fiscal year 2014, according to the latest government data. Authorities seized $1.2 billion worth of counterfeit products in the fiscal year.
China continued to be the number-one source of counterfeit and pirated goods, accounting for 63 percent, or $772 million, of the value seized. Hong Kong ranked second with $310 million, or 25 percent.
“The digital age has revolutionized how we share information, store data, make purchases and develop products, requiring law enforcement to strengthen our defenses against cyber crime — one of my top priorities,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “High-profile instances of hacking — even against large companies like Sony and Target — have demonstrated the seriousness of the threat all businesses face and have underscored the potential for sophisticated adversaries to inflict real and lasting harm.”
Officials said the new strategy will help law enforcement and companies “better identify, prioritize and disrupt the manufacturing, distribution, advertising and sale of counterfeit products.”
The FBI and other partners of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center will then investigate alleged crimes, which would be prosecuted by the Department of Justice. The Office of Justice Programs Intellectual Property Enforcement Program also launched a new intellectual property Web site, justice.gov/iptf, to provide resources to companies fighting counterfeiting and other cyber crimes. The site will also seek to educate the public on the adverse impact of intellectual property theft on businesses and the economy.