Business Groups Express Concerns on Senate Effort to Address IP Theft

USCIB joined leading U.S. technology and business organizations in urging key senators from both sides of the aisle to take a fresh look at a proposed law on cyber-theft, to avoid any unintended consequences of harming U.S. economic security and competitiveness or hindering trade and commerce.

The groups explained their concerns in a joint letter to Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), John McCain, (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) — the bipartisan sponsors of S. 884, the Deter Cyber Theft Act. They wrote in part:

Theft of America’s valuable intellectual property and trade secrets through cyber espionage, or other means, is a serious economic security problem for U.S. companies and our country.  In today’s dynamic marketplace, a company’s success is highly dependent on its innovations and competitive advantage, both of which are closely tied to the development and protection of intellectual property. Collectively, the U.S. tech sector spent $80 billion in 2011 protecting and securing their networks against threats, including cyber espionage, and we commend the cosponsors for their demonstrated interest in protecting intellectual property (IP) from theft.

However, we have significant concerns with S. 884, the “Deter Cyber Theft Act,” as introduced, particularly the impact the legislation may have on international commerce and trade at a time when cyber policies are of heightened importance for the global technology ecosystem, as well as the long-term impact on U.S. economic security. For that reason, we urge the cosponsors to engage in a thorough review of this and similar legislation through hearings and markup in the Senate Finance Committee, where S. 884 is currently pending.

We applaud the bipartisan interest in protecting our economically vital intellectual property. However, we believe that we can advance intellectual property protection in a way that does not have a negative impact on our nation’s economic security and competitiveness.  For that reason, we look forward to working collaboratively with the cosponsors to ensure that S. 884 and similar legislation will effectively achieve these important shared goals.

Among the concerns expressed in the letter are S. 884’s potential impediment to international relations, its impact on U.S. exports, and its broad importation ban authority. Click here to read the complete letter. Signatories in addition to USCIB were BSA – The Software Alliance, the Information Technology Industry Council, the National Foreign Trade Council, TechAmerica and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Staff contact: Rob Mulligan

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Staff Contact:   Rob Mulligan

Senior VP, Policy and Government Affairs
Tel: 202.682.7375

Rob Mulligan oversees our wide ranging activities on international trade, investment, economic and regulatory matters, and supervises a staff of policy professionals whose expertise covers a host of issues affecting American companies engaged in global business. He also coordinates USCIB policy and advocacy work with the U.S. and foreign governments, our international affiliates.
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