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SEMA hails intellectual property protection law

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The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is applauding the passage of a new law that boosts civil and criminal penalties against counterfeiters and intellectual property pirates.

"Lawmakers have taken an important step in helping combat the scourge of counterfeiting," says SEMA CEO and President Chris Kersting.

Passage of the "Prop-IP Act" gives the federal government "new tools and resources to fight intellectual property thieves."

SEMA says enactment of the law was the culmination of more than two years of work by the association as well as other trade groups. The law will establish an intellectual property "czar who will coordinate all government anti-counterfeiting actions."

In a statement released this week, SEMA officials said that "over the years, SEMA members have registered an increasing number of complaints about counterfeit products and illegal knock-offs.

"Enactment of this law authorizes more federal enforcement officers and agents in the field dedicated to investigating counterfeiting claims. Additional enforcement personnel will help track counterfeiters from the point of foreign production, through importation and distribution to store shelves.

"Counterfeiters will face stiffer criminal penalties when they are apprehended, especially if the products potentially affect consumer safety."

However, SEMA notes, the law does not change the basic requirement that businesses must first register their copyrights, trademarks and patents with the appropriate government authorities "in order to establish enforceable legal rights."

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