On May 25, 2023, the US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) requested comments on strategies to address counterfeiting and piracy. The PTO requested information on current anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy strategies that have proven effective, as well as ideas for future strategies.
The PTO requested comments on the 14 points listed below. Respondents may address any, all, or none of these points. The PTO will receive any input relevant to future strategies in the fight to prevent counterfeited and pirated goods from entering the stream of commerce and reaching the hands of consumers.
1. Current anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy strategies, and any trends in how often such practices guide plans for addressing these issues in the future.
2. The types of harms observed from sales of counterfeited and pirated goods.
3. How to educate consumers about the harms and dangers that may result from the use and sale of counterfeited or pirated products.
4. Current anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy strategies that have proven successful, and those that have not. Information relating to targets of anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy efforts, such as e-commerce platforms, physical markets, and social media.
5. Anticipated challenges in the fight to prevent counterfeited and pirated goods from entering the stream of commerce and reaching the hands of consumers, and how to address those challenges.
6. Observed patterns and trends in counterfeiting and piracy during the COVID-19 pandemic. An indication of whether the commenter anticipates that such patterns and trends will continue post-pandemic.
7. Patterns and trends observed in counterfeiting and piracy due to shifts in the economy. An indication of whether the commenter anticipates that such patterns and trends will continue and if so, an explanation regarding the expected impact on current and future strategic plans to combat counterfeiting and piracy.
8. The commenter’s thoughts on whether any strategic plans to combat counterfeiting and piracy might include collaboration with private or public parties. If a strategic plan is not collaborative, why not? If collaborative, a discussion of the anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy strategies employed in the collaboration.
9. New collaborative efforts contemplated to combat counterfeiting and piracy and factors that will affect implementation decisions. Discussion of how future collaborations might be composed.
10. Effective technologies to prevent counterfeited and pirated goods from entering the stream of commerce and reaching the hands of consumers, such as counterfeit product identification devices or advanced algorithms to secure supply chains and provide the identity of counterfeit goods online. A discussion of how anticipated strategies will improve an overall anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy strategy.
11. How online enforcement activities intersect with trademark and copyright laws or procedures. Do online enforcement strategies include employing existing trademark laws to combat online counterfeiting? Do online enforcement strategies use existing copyright laws to combat online piracy? If so, describe these activities and suggestions for maximizing these practices.
12. Description of any fraudulent documentation or materials observed in the furtherance of online counterfeiting and piracy activity. For example, comment on whether, after reporting an infringement to a platform, a counter-notification was attached to identified fraudulent materials.
13. Data on counterfeiting and piracy, including any data showing how the activities may adversely or disproportionately affect certain industries or companies.
14. Thoughts on what more the PTO or government and private parties can do to ensure that entities, including under-resourced individuals and small businesses, can readily enforce their intellectual property rights against counterfeited or pirated goods. Other solutions seen? Envisioned?
A public roundtable is scheduled for October 3, 2023, at the PTO Madison Building in Alexandria, Virginia, with an option for virtual attendance. Written comments on the anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy strategies will be received until August 23, 2023.
For further details, see the Federal Register notice here.