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h1 Road Shows Bring U.S. Government Tools and Assistance to You

September 26, 2012

Andrea Cornwell is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of Intellectual Property Rights (OIPR) within the Market Access and Compliance unit of the International Trade Administration. Raquel Cohen, also an International Trade Specialist in OIPR, coordinated the Road Shows.

Hello from Chicago, where I just wrapped up our most recent stop on ITA’s Road Shows tour.  The Road Shows have been a hit across the U.S. After a whirlwind tour to eight cities, my colleagues and I have met with hundreds of U.S. companies, educating them on how to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights (IPR) in the U.S. and in foreign markets.  At each Road Show, our team of experts covered the basics—how to protect your company’s patents, trademarks, and copyrights—and advised on protection for online content and useful law enforcement resources to seize counterfeit products.   We also offered free one-on-one consultations for U.S. companies at the end of each session.

My colleagues and I have enjoyed getting to meet U.S. exporters across the country, and have appreciated hearing first-hand about the challenges they face with respect to protecting and enforcing their IPR.  During my time in Chicago, some common questions that companies have asked include:

If you weren’t able to join us at one of our Road Shows, don’t worry – you haven’t missed your chance to ask your questions!  We’re always ready to help U.S. companies with IPR-related issues, and can be reached through the contact page on our one-stop IPR portal,

And don’t forget, the Road Show has one more stop in Oklahoma City on September 28.  For more information about our final stop, please contact Ashley Wilson at


The Secret Is Out! Learn More About the Value of Trade Secrets to the U.S. Economy

September 5, 2012

Christine Peterson is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of Intellectual Property Rights within the Market Access and Compliance unit of the International Trade Administration

When I was in law school, I took all the intellectual property (IP) law and international trade law courses I could cram into my busy schedule.  Unfortunately, everything I learned about trade secrets I learned in two days of an introductory IP course.

But, if you think that the number of trade secret law courses out there was an accurate reflection of the importance of trade secrets to U.S. businesses and the U.S. economy, think again. Many companies rely on trade secret protection for their innovations.

Odds are you even have some products protected by trade secrets in your own home—like the Coca-Cola recipe or the compound used in WD40 or OLED display technology in a Samsung television.

Legal protection for certain business confidential information has existed in the United States since the nineteenth century, but has often been overshadowed by the more well-known forms of intellectual property—patent, trademark, and copyright.

Trade secret theft is an increasingly important issue for U.S. businesses and, as a result, the U.S. government is doing more to make sure that American innovators are not at a disadvantage in foreign markets due to inadequate trade secret protection.

I used the following resources to educate myself and would highly recommend them to U.S. businesses and others that are interested in learning more about trade secrets.

These and other federal government resources can help you understand the importance of protecting business proprietary information to ensure that U.S. companies stay globally competitive.

ITA’s trade specialists stand ready to assemble teams of U.S. Government experts to assist U.S. companies to enforce their trade secrets and other forms of IPR in foreign markets. We can suggest strategies to evaluate IPR problems encountered abroad and will work with you to resolve problems. You can report trade barriers at


Shrinking the Atlantic and Improving Intellectual Property Protection

July 21, 2011

Cecilia Almeida is an intern at the International Trade Administration in the Office of Intellectual Property Rights. She is studying law at Loyola University in New Orleans. 

Last week, the Atlantic Ocean shrunk considerably for me as the U.S.-EU IPR Working Group met in Washington D.C. and I attended as an intern of the International Trade Administration (ITA).  The Working Group is co-chaired by ITA and the U.S. Trade Representative for the United States and by the Directorate General for Trade for the European Union.  The Working Group met with stakeholders at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to discuss U.S and European joint efforts to improve intellectual property rights enforcement and protection in key third country markets.

Representatives from a range of different industries as well as representatives from a number of consumer groups were present and able to participate in the discussions.  I was able to learn about intellectual property rights and the efforts undertaken by the U.S. and the EU, and to stop intellectual property infringement.  It was an invaluable experience.

The Atlantic continued to shrink even more so as this meeting was followed by a government to government meeting on Friday. At this meeting, both the United States and the European Union reaffirmed their commitment to continued cooperation and discussed ways in which the U.S. and EU might further expand their joint activities.  I was happy to be a part of  these discussions to hear first hand information on the topic as it helped me expand my knowledge of a wide range of intellectual property rights issues.

In 2005, the United States and European Union came together and established the Intellectual Property Rights Working Group, which is composed of intellectual property rights officials representing lead agencies from both the United States and Europe. The Group was established to identify the areas for joint action particularly in third-country markets where the U.S. and EU share many of the same intellectual property concerns.

To learn more about intellectual property rights protection and enforcement and the resources the U.S. Government has developed to aid U.S. rights holders, go to