In December 2016, the White House Office of the US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) published its latest Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) for Intellectual Property Enforcement (FY2017-2019), Supporting Innovation, Creativity & Enterprise: Charting a Path Ahead, and an accompanying blog post.

The IPEC office crafted the JSP in partnership with an inter-agency working group with shared responsibilities for intellectual property matters. The JSP is a blueprint for the administration's IP work to be carried out over the next three years.

The JSP is divided into four main sections:

SECTION 1 explains the importance of intellectual property and its impact on the US economy. This section provides an overview of how intellectual property serves as a material force behind US economic growth, high-paying jobs, economic competitiveness and creative expression. It also describes the IP enforcement-related challenges faced by industry and law enforcement. The section focuses on how piracy, counterfeiting and trade secret theft pose threats to US domestic interests and to US and international security.

SECTION 2 focuses on intellectual property infringement in the digital environment, including counterfeiting and piracy through online platforms and other legitimate services. This section proposes best practices across a variety of platforms, including payment processors, ad networks, social media, search engines and mobile apps. Section 2 also discusses possible changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

SECTION 3 discusses cross-border trade and counterfeit goods, highlighting ways that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can better safeguard US borders through the identification and interdiction of counterfeit goods bound for the US marketplace. Recommendations include employing specialized task forces, investing in anti-counterfeiting technology and enhancing CBP recordation systems. This section specifically calls for all nations to maximize their effectiveness at disrupting illicit goods at various points of entry and to curb illegal operations within free trade zones.

SECTION 4 provides additional ideas for improved enforcement of intellectual property rights. It specifically details the need for a more coordinated and specialized US government response to infringement and includes ideas on patent reform and the mitigation of trade secret theft.

Danni Marti, the current IPEC, will soon be stepping down as part of the January 20, 2017, presidential administration transition. It remains to be seen whether the new administration will follow through with the recommendations of the current JSP; however, this report had bipartisan input and is meant to be a roadmap for the new administration. If so, these policies would continue to drive the IPEC's agenda, as well as serve as a guide for the other parts of the US government that have IP responsibilities, through 2019.

As always, we hope that this high-level guidance provides you with timely insight into an important area of impact and interest for brand owners and businesses. Please feel free to reach out to us if you would like a more in-depth analysis of the new JSP or to discuss the impact of the new JSP on your brand management and enforcement programs.

Originally published 10 January 2017

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