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National IPR Coordination Center

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ICE's National IPR Coordination Center (IPR Center) is an interagency mechanism created by the executive branch to improve federal IP enforcement and coordinate investigative efforts between ICE and FBI.[1] The coordination between DHS, the FBI, and industry and trade associations made the IPR Center unique. The IPR Center was intended to serve as a focal point for the collection of intelligence involving copyright and trademark infringement, signal theft, and theft of trade secrets. Center staff were to analyze intelligence that is collected through industry referrals of complaints (allegations of IPR infringements) and, if criminal activity is suspected, were to provide the information for use by FBI and DHS field components.

The FBI at the IPR Center holds quarterly meetings with eleven priority industry groups to discuss pressing issues on violations within the specific jurisdiction of the FBI. The center is also involved in training and outreach activities.

Unfortunately, the IPR Center has not achieved its mission or maintained the staffing levels set for it upon its creation. The Center — intended to collect, analyze, and disseminate IP-related complaints from the private sector to ICE and FBI field offices for investigation — has suffered from a slow start, a lack of common understanding about its purpose and agencies' roles, and limited private sector complaint information. As a result, the Center has gradually shifted its focus toward educating the private sector about federal IP enforcement efforts.

Congressional appropriators expressed support for the Center's original concept through various conference reports, which, over time, directed participating agencies to allocate appropriated funds to staff and operate the Center. However, staffing levels have declined and the FBI no longer participates in the Center.

Plans are underway to move the Center to a new location in early 2008, and according to officials from the other four key agencies, they have met with ICE to discuss what role their agencies might play in the Center in the future.

References Edit

  1. The IPR Center arose from the work of the National Security Council's Special Coordination Group on Intellectual Property Rights and Trade-Related Crime. This group was formed in order to implement Presidential Decision Directive 42 concerning international crime. In 1999, a consensus of the group members resulted in a multi-agency plan to improve the U.S. government's efforts in IPR enforcement, and the IPR Center was created.

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