The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property: A National Security Plan to Prevent Stolen IP

The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property (IP Commission) released an 89-page report on May 22, 2013 assessing international intellectual property theft with a focus on China’s troubled IP regime and recommendations for changes in U.S. policy responses. The IP Commission is an independent, bi-partisan initiative led by the former Director of National Intelligence and Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, Dennis Blair, and the former Ambassador to China and governor of Utah, John M. Huntsman, Jr. The IP Commission is affiliated with the National Bureau of Asian Research based in Seattle.

Recently, three Chinese researchers were charged with taking bribes from Chinese medical and research companies in relation to trade secret theft of NYU’s research on magnetic resonance imaging technology. The NYU study was federally funded. The panel in IP Commission acknowledged that this type of misconduct would still occur but would be reduced if their recommendations were adopted.

Recognizing the large scale IP theft that frequently originates in China, the IP Commission proposes designating the President’s national security adviser as the principal policy coordinator for all actions on the protection of American IP.

Other strengthening measures include:

  • Reforming the International Trade Commission’s 337 process to prevent importation of infringing goods at the border;
  • Banking and Federal Trade Commission sanctions for IP violators, effectively barring repeat offenders from using our banking system;
  • A more robust attack on trade secret theft;
  • Amending the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) to allow private companies to institute lawsuits, expand extraterritorial jurisdiction, and designate the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) as the appellate court for EEA cases; and
  • Instituting rule-of-law programs in priority countries to strengthen IP protection.

Interestingly, the panel advocated increasing the number of green cards to foreign students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) who study at American universities.

Simultaneously, STEM workers are also the center of discussion in Congress. The immigration reform bill in the U.S. Senate seeks to increase the available number of H-1B Visas for STEM workers. See H-1B Visas and the STEM Shortage. One sticking point has been that the so-called Gang of 8 put together an immigration framework that expanded H-1B Visas for STEM workers, but also made it more difficult for companies to demonstrate the need for foreign workers. Earlier this week, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) offered amendments to the immigration reform bill that were accepted in committee and may mark an important compromise that suggests immigration reform may become a reality. See The Hatch Amendment Compromise and Senate Panel Approves Sweeping Immigration Reform Bill.

The full IP Commission Report can be found here.


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Join the Discussion

One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for Roland]
    May 28, 2013 12:20 pm

    Increasing the number of foreign students who study STEM subjects at American universities, is probably a two way street: it has the potential for them to contribute to US IP whilst also having the potential for them to take ideas back to their home countries for further development. The chinese researchers at NYU cited in the article are a good example of this in action. The real question is whether the strengthening measures being proposed would have any real effect on the actions of researchers – foreign or native.

    Personally, I’m not convinced of the benefits to society of enhancing the protection given to trade secrets.