WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Appropriations and Judiciary committees, secured funding in the Fiscal Year 2021 federal spending bill to protect intellectual property (IP) rights. The omnibus bill set to be passed by the Senate on Monday features three pieces of legislation that serve to protect American innovation through changes to the law on trademark registration, streaming services, and copyright disputes.

“Promoting and protecting American innovation is critical to our economy, our national security, and our global standing. That’s why I’m glad that our bipartisan work on three critical intellectual property priorities will soon be signed into law in this year’s spending bill,” said Senator Coons. “I am especially pleased it includes the Trademark Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill with Senator Tillis, which will help ensure that consumers can have confidence in the source of the branded products and services they buy.”

The Trademark Modernization Act (S.3449) establishes new mechanisms for challenging fraudulent trademark registrations and filings at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and ensuring that federal trademark registrations correspond to actual use in commerce. Senators Coons and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) introduced the bill as a companion to bipartisan House legislation. The Trademark Modernization Act will protect consumers by making it easier for legitimate brand owners to prevent others from using confusingly similar marks that could mislead the public about the source of goods or services. 

The Protecting Lawful Streaming Act empowers the Department of Justice to prosecute large-scale criminal streaming services that undermine legitimate sources of copyrighted content. Senator Coons cosponsored and helped lead this legislative proposal drafted by Senator Tillis. The Protecting Lawful Streaming Act modernizes the law by harmonizing the penalties for illicit streaming with those for copying and distributing unauthorized content on physical media like DVDs. This legislation was drafted with input from creators, public interest groups, and technology companies to ensure that only criminal enterprises are targeted and not individual streamers or consumers viewing content online.

The CASE Act (S.1273establishes a small-claims tribunal within the Copyright Office to resolve disputes involving copyright infringement. Senator Coons cosponsored the legislation introduced by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and John Kennedy (R-La.). The bill provides an alternative to federal litigation, which is simply too costly and complex for many musicians, photographers, artists, writers, and other creators whose livelihood depends on their ability to protect and commercialize their creative works.