Intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement is inadequate in parts of the world, resulting in significant losses to U.S. industry and increased public health and safety risks. GAO was asked to evaluate U.S. government efforts to enhance protection and enforcement of IP overseas. Using a case study approach, this report (1) describes the key IP protection and enforcement issues at four posts in China, India, and Thailand; (2) assesses the extent to which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) IP attach?s and the Department of Justice (DOJ) IP Law Enforcement Coordinator (IPLEC) effectively collaborate with other agencies at the posts; and (3) evaluates the extent to which each of the posts has undertaken interagency planning in collaborating on its IP-related activities. GAO examined U.S. government documents and interviewed headquarters and post agency officials as well as U.S. private-sector and host-country representatives.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of State||1. To more effectively ensure that activities at U.S. posts with USPTO IP attaces consistently address the key IP protection and enforcement issues identified by the U.S. government, the Secretary of State should direct post leadership in countries with USPTO IP attaches to work with the USPTO IP attaches to develop annual IP interagency work plans to be used by the post IP working groups with input from relevant agencies, which set objectives and identify activities for addressing key IP protection and enforcement issues defined by the U.S. government, taking into account the range of expertise of responsible agencies, available resources, and agency specific IP goals.|