This is a dynamic time for IP enforcement. New technology and more sophisticated methods of manufacturing and distribution have created unprecedented opportunities for legitimate businesses, both large and small, to develop their products and market and distribute them around the world. Manufacturers and consumers are increasingly interconnected due to advances in telecommunication networks, integrated financial markets, and global advertising.
Consumers enjoy near-immediate access to almost any product manufactured in the U.S. or abroad. They can provide instant payment through an international credit card system or online payment processors and receive their purchase either through immediate downloading of digital content or overnight shipment of tangible goods through express courier services. Companies and their employees also can conduct business seamlessly from anywhere in the world. Virtually all business records, research, and sensitive information exists in digital form and can be stored, accessed, copied, and transmitted using computer networks, cloud storage, and large capacity mobile devices.
Unfortunately, IP criminals exploit the benefits of these advances to support illegal piracy and counterfeiting operations. U.S. companies suffer substantial losses from international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods, which the OECD has estimated to amount to hundreds of billions of dollars each year.