U.S. Department of Justice: Intellectual Property Enforcement Program – Protecting Public Health, Safety, and the Economy from Counterfeit Goods and Product Piracy
The Intellectual Property Enforcement Program (IPEP) is designed to improve the capacity of state, local, tribal, and territorial criminal justice systems to address intellectual property (IP) enforcement, including prosecution, prevention, training, and technical assistance. Awards will be made to support law enforcement agencies that have an IP enforcement task force or plan to create one. These task forces will collaborate with the relevant state, local, territorial, tribal, campus, and federal agencies, including the local U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO).
With the widespread availability of technology, the cases developed by previous grantees under this program have expanded the understanding and classification of IP infringement beyond traditional luxury goods such as handbags and watches. Cases have shown that the high profits and perceived low risks involved in selling counterfeit goods have resulted in an increasingly more sophisticated and prevalent trade that touches products in every industry such as food, health care products, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and even automobile and aircraft parts. The internet also has made pirated content widely and easily available, specifically music, movies, and software. IPEP includes an educational component to assist uninformed buyers in determining the authenticity of seemingly legitimate websites that actually deceive consumers into purchasing counterfeit goods.
IPEP seeks applications from task force agencies or proposed task force agencies that propose to achieve the following:
- In support of the priority of reducing crime, improve coordination of IP enforcement efforts among federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and campus authorities
- Aggressively investigate and prosecute IP crimes, with a particular focus on: (1) public health and safety; (2) theft of trade secrets and economic espionage; and (3) large-scale commercial counterfeiting and piracy
Projects funded under this solicitation shall:
- Establish and/or enhance state, local, tribal, or territorial IP enforcement task forces
- Engage federal agencies as part of the task force or information sharing (including, where appropriate, local offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (ICE HSI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO))
- Conduct regularly scheduled quarterly meetings of the task force members to update, discuss, and collaborate on IP investigations, prosecutions, training, and public awareness activities
- Provide to all relevant partners documented information about targeting, investigation, analysis, and prosecution of matters involving IP crimes as it relates to violations of state and local criminal statutes
IPEP encourages applications that:
- Show possible links between IP crimes and organized crime, criminal gangs, and drug trafficking
- Identify IP thefts in the areas of trade secrets, health, and safety; and commercial online piracy and counterfeiting
Amount: Approximately $2,400,000 is available to make up to six awards of up to $400,000 each for a performance period of 24 months.
Eligibility: State, local, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments; municipal law enforcement agencies, to include law enforcement agencies within institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education); and prosecutors.
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