President signs anti-counterfeiting bill into law

| Tuesday, March 28, 2006

President Bush signed the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act into law March 17.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Joe Knollenberg , R-MI, at the beginning of the 109th Congress with the support of Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association and its members who helped craft the bill and worked for its passage. The final version of the bill passed in the House on March 7 and the Senate on Feb. 15.

The new counterfeiting law extends federal seizure authority to include not only the infringing product, but also the tooling, equipment and supplies used to produce and traffic counterfeit goods and criminalizes production of stickers, tags boxes or other items used to traffic fake products.

The law also expands the current definition of trafficking to include the import and export of counterfeit goods and clearly specifies that it is illegal to give away counterfeit goods in exchange for some future benefit – in effect, the “bartering” of counterfeit goods. Networks of counterfeiters have used these loopholes to frustrate investigation and prosecution under current law.

Phony products account for between 5 and 8 percent of all good sold worldwide, according to the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association.

Bootleg items can be almost anything anymore. In fact, CBSnews.com reported that the automotive industry has turned up enough counterfeit products to actually build a car.

The FBI estimates that product counterfeiting costs U.S. businesses $200 billion to $250 billion annually. Product counterfeiting is estimated to cost American automotive suppliers approximately $12 billion in lost sales annually, according to a Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association press release on the passage of the original Senate version of the bill.

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