President Obama issued on February 8, 2011 an Executive Order called “The Establishment of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Advisory Committees,” establishing two intellectual property enforcement advisory committees designed to improve the Federal Government’s intellectual property enforcement efforts.
The Enforcement Advisory Committee shall develop a Strategic Plan as provided for in title III of the PRO IP Act.
The President’s issuance of the Executive Order is evidence that there is a growing awareness of the commercial importance of intellectual property laws and the need to strengthen the enforcement of the laws designed to protect and foster America’s inventiveness and creativity.
The executive order states that in the development and implementation of the Joint Strategic Plan, the heads of the departments and agencies shall share with the Coordinator of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Advisory Committee and the other members of the Enforcement Advisory Committee relevant department or agency information such as:
- (A) plans for addressing the Joint Strategic Plan;
- (B) statistical information on the enforcement activities taken by that department or agency against counterfeiting or infringement; and
- (C) recommendations to enhance cooperation among Federal, State, and local authorities responsible for intellectual property enforcement.
The Senior Advisory Committee shall be composed of the Coordinator, who shall chair it, and the heads of, or the deputies to the heads of:
- The Department of State;
- The Department of the Treasury;
- The Department of Justice;
- The Department of Agriculture;
- The Department of Commerce;
- The Department of Health and Human Services;
- The Department of Homeland Security;
- The Office of Management and Budget; and
- The Office of the United States Trade Representative
The $64,000 question is whether not this committee will actually do anything. It seems like committees are constantly being formed to vote on things to do in the future. For example the Senate Judiciary Committee voted recently to send bipartisan patent reform legislation to the full Senate. This was announced by the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy on February 3, 2011.
I spoke with Leahy press contact David Carle on the telephone today and I asked him when did he expect it to go to the full Senate. He said that Patent Reform has been kicking around for years and it was just recently voted on by the committee and he didn’t appear to have any idea when it might actually go before the Senate. His tone of voice seemed to say that to ask “when” at this early juncture is a little bit ridiculous.
I guess that’s just the way things work in Washington one committee after the next kicking it around. The wheels of progress keep rolling along. But at least the politicians that we’ve elected are discussing patent reform and the importance of protecting intellectual property rights.