Senior Bush Administration Officials testified this week about intellectual property rights before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Federal Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia.U.S. Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement, Chris Israel, provided an update on the of Administration's Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!) Initiative. Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property Stephen Pinkos also provided testimony, reviewing the improvements made to intellectual property rights enforcement. “Few issues are as important to the current and future economic strength of the United States as our ability to create and protect intellectual property,” Israel said. “The 2006 Economic Report of the President states that IP accounts for over 1/3 of the value of all U.S. corporations, an amount equal to almost half our GDP.” The STOP! Initiative has five primary goals: to empower American innovators to better protect their rights at home and abroad; to increase efforts to seize counterfeit goods at our borders; to pursue criminal enterprises involved in piracy and counterfeiting; to work closely and creatively with U.S. industry; and to aggressively engage our trading partners to join our efforts. "Through the STOP! Initiative, we are achieving results," said Israel. "Over the past year this Administration has improved coordination across the U.S. government, maintained the commitment of senior Administration officials, and received attention around the world." Israel also highlighted the partnership with several professional organizations, including the National Association of Manufacturers, to prevent IP theft and enforce new laws, including the Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act, H.R. 32, enacted in March of 2006. “We are working with the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers led association, on the “No Trade in Fakes” program to develop voluntary guidelines companies can use to ensure their supply and distribution chains are free of counterfeits,” Israel said. Israel also reviewed the Administration’s plans to hold China accountable for IP violations. “We have initiated bilateral discussions with China on criminal IP enforcement and are working toward establishing a bilateral law enforcement experts group to improve operational cooperation and coordination in join and cross-border investigations,” Israel said. “We are also working closely with other member countries in a G8 IP Experts working group, and will soon be proposing and pursuing specific IP enforcement project in the G8 Lyon-Roma Group on Crime and Terrorism.” The entire testimony can be reviewed at: http://www.commerce.gov/opa/press/Secretary_Gutierrez/2006_Releases/July/26_Chris_Israel_IPR_Testimony.htm.