[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 189 (Thursday, September 30, 2010)]
[Pages 60408-60409]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-24508]



International Trade Administration

Government Programs To Assist Businesses Protect Their 
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Foreign Markets: Request of the 
International Trade Administration's Office of Intellectual Property 
Rights, Department of Commerce

AGENCY: Office of Intellectual Property Rights, International Trade 
Administration, Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Request for written submissions from the public.


SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce invites public input and 
participation in shaping government programs for protecting the 
intellectual property rights of U.S. businesses, including Small- and 
Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), in foreign markets. As evidenced by 
the launch of the President's National Export Initiative, improving 
U.S. Government support for U.S. business in overseas markets is an 
Administration priority. Unfortunately, American exporters face various 
barriers to entry in overseas markets including barriers related to 
intellectual property rights.
    In coordination with the Intellectual Property Enforcement 
Coordinator (``IPEC'') and to implement certain action items in the 
2010 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement 
submitted to Congress by the IPEC, the Department of Commerce is 
conducting a comprehensive review of existing U.S. Government efforts 
to educate, guide, and provide resources to U.S. businesses that are:
    1. Acquiring intellectual property rights in foreign markets;
    2. Contemplating exporting intellectual property-based products or 
choosing markets for export;
    3. Actively entering foreign markets or facing difficulties 
entering foreign markets; or
    4. Encountering difficulties enforcing their intellectual property 
rights in foreign markets.
    The goal of the review is to improve efforts to support U.S. 
businesses facing barriers related to intellectual property rights 
protection and enforcement in overseas markets.

The Department of Commerce is hereby requesting written submissions 
from the public. In responding, please consider the questions and 
information requests posed below, but do not limit comments to these 
    1. Describe your level of familiarity with intellectual property 
rights in general and intellectual property rights in foreign markets 
in particular.
    2. Identify specific challenges businesses, including SMEs, face in 
protecting their intellectual property rights abroad.
    3. In what countries or regions do businesses need the most 
assistance protecting their intellectual property rights? In responding 
please prioritize any countries identified.
    4. Which specific types of intellectual property (copyrights, 
trademarks, patents, trade secrets) present the most challenges to 
SMEs? Should U.S. government programs focus on specific areas of 
intellectual property protection?
    5. Suggest particular outreach, programs or assistance that the 
government can provide that would help U.S. businesses overcome those 
    6. Describe your familiarity with or use of current U.S. Government 
services and tools related to IPR protection and enforcement in foreign 
markets, and assess their usefulness and/or gaps.
    7. Assess the adequacy of the intellectual property resources, 
tools, services and programs that the U.S. government currently 
provides to SMEs.
    8. What specific outreach formats (e.g., conferences, webinars, 
publications, podcasts) work best for educating U.S. businesses on how 
to protect their IPR abroad?
    9. Identify specific existing programs provided by the U.S. 
Government or governments of other countries that have been 
particularly effective at assisting U.S. businesses with protecting 
their intellectual property rights in foreign markets (including, if 
possible, specific examples illustrating the effectiveness of those 
    10. Identify specific existing programs involving cooperation 
between stakeholders and the U.S. Government (or between stakeholders 
and other governments) that have been particularly effective at 
assisting SMEs with the protection of their IP in foreign markets.
    11. What additional role(s) should the government play in assisting 
businesses with the protection of their intellectual property rights 
    12. Identify additional resources and tools the U.S. Government 
could provide to support SMEs as they enforce their intellectual 
property rights in foreign markets.
    13. Identify the most effective and efficient ways to inform U.S. 
businesses of new and existing government offerings that support U.S. 
businesses in their efforts to protect their intellectual property 
    14. In a recent report by the International Trade Commission, 
combining resources through trade associations or through less formal 
groups was one strategy SMEs suggested to reduce trade barriers. 
Describe ways the government can support SMEs as they pool resources to 
combat infringement abroad.

DATES: Submissions must be received on or before Friday, October 29, 
2010, at 5 p.m.

ADDRESSES: Comments must be in English. All comments should be sent 
electronically via http://www.regulations.gov, docket number ITA-2010-
    To submit comments to http://www.regulations.gov, find the docket 
by entering the number ITA-2010-0006 in the ``Enter Keyword or ID'' 
window at the http://www.regulations.gov home page and click 
``Search.'' The site will provide a search-results page listing all 
documents associated with this docket. Find a reference to this notice 
by selecting ``Notice'' under ``Document Type'' on the left side of the 
search-results page, and click on the link entitled ``Submit a 
comment.'' (For further information on using the http://www.regulations.gov Web site, please consult the resources provided on 
the Web site by clicking on ``How to Use This Site'' on the left side 
of the home page).
    The http://www.regulations.gov site provides the option of 
providing comments by filling in a ``Type comment & Upload file'' 
field, or by attaching a document. Attached documents are preferable. 
If a document is attached, please type ``IPR Assistance Review'' in the 
``Type comment & Upload file'' field. Submissions in Microsoft Word 
(.doc) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) are preferred. If the submission is in 
an application other than those two, please indicate the name of the 
application in the ``Comments'' field.

[[Page 60409]]

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions on the submission of 
comments, please contact Christine Peterson at (202) 482-1432 or Andrea 
Cornwell at (202) 482-0998.
    Publication and Confidential Information:
    Submissions filed in response to this request will be made 
available to the public by posting them on the Internet. For this 
reason, please do not include in your comments information of a 
confidential nature, such as sensitive personal information or 
proprietary information. If you have confidential business information 
that would support your recommendation or that you believe would help 
the U.S. Government formulate an effective enforcement strategy, please 
let us know, and we may request that additional information.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: It is difficult to overstate the value of 
intellectual property rights (IPR) to innovation, investment and 
economic development for U.S. businesses. Intellectual property rights 
are also critical to our small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce \1\ estimates that IP-intensive industries 
employ 18 million Americans, and the Small Business Administration has 
estimated that SMEs alone employ half of Americans and account for 65 
percent \2\ of new jobs. The theft of IP from SMEs is a serious matter, 
as it stifles innovation, slows economic growth, weakens the 
competitiveness of U.S. employers, and threatens American jobs. 
Intellectual property theft at the hands of foreign companies, 
consumers, and even governments, has an adverse impact on all IP-based 
innovation and economic success. SMEs are particularly vulnerable 
because they are at a distinct disadvantage when confronting these 
difficulties in foreign markets. The Department of Commerce's 
priorities include ensuring that intellectual property remains a viable 
driver or innovation, and that our IP-based industries can compete 
effectively in the international marketplace. Commerce Bureaus, namely 
the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the International 
Trade Administration (ITA), work alongside the IPEC and the agencies 
involved in intellectual property rights enforcement to help businesses 
secure and enforce intellectual property rights at home and abroad.

    \1\ Global Intellectual Property Center, Intellectual Property: 
Creating Jobs, Saving Lives, Improving the World, 2009.
    \2\ Karen Mills, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business 
Administration (SBA), speech at ``Jobs on Main Street, Customers 
Around the World'' event hosted by USTR 01-21-10.

    To educate and assist all businesses, and SMEs in particular, the 
Department of Commerce has developed a number of IPR tools and 
resources. ITA, on behalf of U.S. intellectual property agencies, 
launched a Web site in 2004 (http://www.stopfakes.gov) to provide 
updates and links to Executive Branch IPR programs. On the Web site, 
there are additional resources for businesses such as an online IPR 
tutorial, which is available in three languages, country-specific IPR 
toolkits and links to other resources such as the American Bar 
Association's International IP Advisory Program. The site also allows 
businesses to file complaints about IPR-related trade problems, which 
are answered by a trade specialist from ITA. The Department of Commerce 
also established the 1-866-999-HALT hotline answered by PTO IPR 
experts, who work with ITA's Office of Intellectual Property Rights 
(OIPR) to help businesses secure and enforce their IPR through 
international treaties. Though this list is non-exhaustive, U.S. 
agencies recognize that there may be additional government tools and 
support on IPR protection and enforcement that could assist U.S. 

    Dated: Friday, September 24, 2010.
Eileen Hill,
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Trade Agreements and Compliance, 
Market Access and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. 
Department of Commerce.
[FR Doc. 2010-24508 Filed 9-29-10; 8:45 am]