IPR Center, partners honored at 2014 Intellectual Property Champions Awards

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WASHINGTON — The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the FBI were honored at the second annual IP Champions Conference in Washington, D.C., today. The event was hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) and honored innovators, creators and defenders of intellectual property (IP).

IPR Center, HSI, CBP and Mexican Customs received awards for Operation Team Player, which targeted the sale of counterfeit sports products and tickets. The operation netted more than $37 million in fake sports merchandise, 70 arrests and 163 website seizures. The IPR Center, HSI Houston, and CBP also received awards for a case involving the sale of more than $750,000 worth of counterfeit Adobe, Microsoft, Intuit and Rosetta Stone products. That case concluded in January and the defendant was sentenced to a year in prison.

"We appreciate the chamber's recognition of the law enforcement efforts of the partners at the IPR Center," said Lev Kubiak, director of the IPR Center. "Events like these give us the opportunity to collaborate with industry and highlight to the public the very real dangers that counterfeiters pose."

HSI Baltimore, CBP and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland were recognized for a case that involved a scheme to traffic counterfeit goods – including military-grade, integrated circuits and defense goods – into the United States from China.

Finally, the FBI was honored for a trade secrets case involving stolen research materials and proprietary formulas worth more than $4.7 million in research and development costs.

"Intellectual property rights are the cornerstone of our innovative economy and are critical to dozens of industries and millions of consumers across the globe," said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the GIPC. "We thank this year's IP champions for the tremendous contributions they have made toward growing our economy and enhancing our lives."

Representative Doug Collins from Georgia delivered the keynote address and discussed the impact IP crimes have on hardworking families.

"When we talk about making decisions today that will impact our children and grandchildren tomorrow, intellectual property is one of the areas we can do the most good," said Collins. "Encouraging innovation by ensuring it will be rewarded and protected builds our economy today and sets the stage for a brighter tomorrow. Any time spent looking for ways we can do this is time well spent indeed, and I applaud the chamber's work in putting this event together."

The HSI-led IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21-member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety and the U.S. economy.

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