"This report provides background on intellectual property rights (IPR) and discusses the role of U.S. international trade policy in enhancing IPR protection and enforcement abroad. IPR are legal rights granted by governments to encourage innovation and creative output by ensuring that creators reap the benefits of their inventions or works and they may take the form of patents, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, or geographical indications. U.S. industries that rely on IPR contribute significantly to U.S. economic growth, employment, and trade with other countries. Counterfeiting and piracy in other countries may result in the loss of billions of dollars of revenue for U.S. firms as well as the loss of jobs. Responsibility for developing IPR policy, engaging in IPR-related international negotiations, and enforcing IPR laws cuts across several different U.S. Government agencies. The main structures for coordinating interagency efforts are the National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinating Council (NIPLECC) and the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!). […] IPR protection and enforcement bring up several key issues for Congress. A central issue is the appropriateness of FTAs as a vehicle for promoting IPR. Congress also faces the challenge of balancing the need for IPR protection and enforcement with the goals of the Doha Declaration on Public Health. Additionally, there has been concern about the effectiveness of the current U.S. IPR enforcement structure. In the 110th Congress, legislation was introduced calling for a new structure to coordinate federal IPR enforcement activities and to increase U.S. international IPR enforcement efforts. This report will be updated as warranted by events."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34292