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A report via the European Commission highlights the importance of protecting and enforcing intellectual property in the European Union.
While much of the discussion around Chinese intellectual property theft has revolved around how it impacts the United States - a recent report claims it could cost the country between $225 billion and $600 billion a year - its impact on other countries has become occupies far fewer headlines.
Chinese economic espionage is a big issue for countries in the European Union too. A recent report issued by the European Commission - the executive branch of the European Union – said that China continues to be a "Priority 1 country for the EU because of the scale and persistence of problems in the area of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement."
The report (.PDF) also acknowledged that IPR enforcement as it pertains to what it calls third countries like India, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Nigeria – some of the bloc’s other trading partners - remains a source of concern. All countries, save for Nigeria are "Priority 2" countries; China is the only "Priority 1" country, according to the EU.
As the report notes, as much as 82% of all EU exports is generated by sectors that depend on intellectual property and maintaining a high level of IP protection is a basic part of every EU trade agreement. Because of its importance, the European Commission claims its actively involved in strengthening the protection and enforcement of IP rights as it pertains to third countries.
The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, a government center that's in charge of coordinating how the U.S. responds to IP laws and falls under the umbrella of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, recently reiterated that it was equipped to continue work as usual, in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Whether protecting against criminals hoping to cash in during a pandemic, or simply guarding against other unscrupulous activity during public health emergencies, our mission remains firmly committed to doing everything we can to help protect the lives and safety of the American people, especially those most vulnerable," Steve Francis, the Director of the IPR Center, said.
IP theft continues to be a hot topic in Washington.
Earlier this month, a group of senators introduced legislation designed to crack down on the theft of U.S. IP via a bill, the Safeguarding American Innovation Act.
Put forth by a handful of senators - Thom Tillis (R-NC), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), James Risch (R-ID), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chris Coons (D-DE), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Rick Scott (R-FL), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) - the bill would punish individuals who fail to disclose foreign support on federal grant applications, strengthen the State Department's authority to deny visas to certain foreign nationals seeking access to sensitive technologies, and Lower the reporting threshold for U.S. schools and universities receiving foreign gifts from $250,000 to $50,000.