|5:21 PM EDT||
Howard Coble, R-NC 6th
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished gentleman from Texas, and I doubt that I will use 5 minutes but I thank Mr. Smith.
I rise, Mr. Speaker, in support of S. 3325.
Every year our economy loses an excess of $200 billion to counterfeiting. This has directly impacted many American businesses and also cost our country countless jobs. Today, counterfeiting has grown into a global and illicit black market trade.
S. 3325 will help our government address counterfeiting from two perspectives. First, from an organizational perspective, it creates an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator in the Executive Office of the President to oversee interagency anticounterfeiting efforts. This person will be responsible for making intellectual property rights a priority for every arm of our government and ensuring that government works efficiently to unearth counterfeit goods and apprehend distributors.
Second, from an enforcement perspective, it authorizes funding for State and local anticounterfeiting efforts and for the Justice Department to create and implement a long range anticounterfeiting enforcement plan and provides new resources for IP and computer-related criminal prosecutions and investigations by the Department of Justice and the FBI.
The version of the PRO-IP bill that was written by the House Judiciary Committee and passed this body by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 410-11 in May contained a number of new initiatives and authorities that I would have preferred to see included in this bill. That said, the glass is by no means half empty. Its enactment will help our law enforcement agencies better detect, prosecute, and deter counterfeiters.
I cannot convey the full implications that counterfeit goods have had on my congressional district, which is home to the furniture capital of the world. We pride ourselves on workmanship and quality, but even the furniture market is vulnerable to knockoffs and counterfeits.
The enactment of S. 3325 is an important step in our government improving our response to this illicit trade. I thank the distinguished gentleman from Texas, the ranking member; the distinguished gentleman from California (Mr. Berman), who chairs the subcommittee; and our chairman, the distinguished gentleman from Michigan, for all the work that they have devoted to this matter and for their tireless leadership in leading the fight against counterfeiting in the Congress for many years.
I urge all Members to support S. 3325, and I thank the Speaker and I thank the gentleman from Texas.