FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, October 5, 2011
CONTACT: Ian Koski at 202-224-4216
Senator Coons introduces two amendments to currency bill to protect American intellectual property
Protecting American innovation is critical to protecting American jobs
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former counsel for one of Delaware’s leading science-based manufacturers, put forward a pair of amendments to the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011 on Wednesday to create new protections for American intellectual property.
“If our goal is to protect American jobs by leveling the playing field with countries like China, then we must take steps to protect American intellectual property from theft and counterfeit,” Senator Coons said. “When foreign companies and governments steal our ideas, they’re stealing more than just formulas and schematics — they’re stealing jobs. These amendments are rooted in specific concerns I have heard repeatedly from manufacturers in Delaware who operate in a constant state of fear that their innovations are going to be stolen and sold by a foreign company. Theft of intellectual property and trade secrets have had devastating impacts on American companies, and these amendments would help give our nation the tools to fight back.”
The first amendment, introduced with Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), would protect U.S. businesses from the theft of trade secrets by allowing victimized companies to sue for trade-secret theft in federal court. The legislation would allow for a single, uniform, nationwide cause of action instead of the patchwork of state laws now in place, and would elevate trade-secret intellectual property on the same level as copyright, trademark and patent violations.
The second amendment, introduced with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), would help U.S. Customs and Border Protection by amending the Trade Secrets Act to give the Secretary of Homeland Security the legal authority to share basic information — like UPC codes and product samples — with American intellectual property holders to determine if a shipment contains counterfeit or infringing products. Current law strictly limits the information that CBP may share with a right holder pre-seizure.