Combating Fakes and Raising Awareness

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The Global IP Strategy Center, P.C.'s Timothy Trainer writes in his new book that two decades under an international agreement to protect and enforce intellectual property has not quieted calls for more enforcement. He argues that it is time to work toward a better balance between efforts at education and enforcement.

"It is important to look back when considering what might be done going forward," states Tim Trainer, author of the just released book entitled ‘Potato Chips to Computer Chips: The War on Fake Stuff (Shortchanging IPR’s Benefits to Economic Growth and Development?)’.

The World Trade Organization held an event earlier this year marking two decades since the conclusion of an international agreement dealing with copyrights, trademarks, patents and other forms of intellectual property. "The international agreement was unique because it included new international obligations on governments to enforce rights against imports and required criminal penalties for certain types of intellectual property violations. Twenty years later, intellectual property violations are broader in scope and variety than we could have imagined and the calls for both more enforcement and more education are as loud as ever," Trainer states.

"I wanted to take a look back as well as offer something going forward. Looking back, there was a lot of rhetoric about the role of intellectual property and how it would contribute to economic development and growth. The reality seems to be that enforcement, whether by police, customs officials or others, gained greater traction than efforts to educate people about the role of intellectual property in development and growth, though this has increased recently," Trainer notes.

In the book, Mr. Trainer points out that today’s commercial environment brings people into constant contact with intellectual property and that these daily experiences can be a starting point for many opportunities to raise awareness about the benefits of intellectual property. Given the threats posed to public health and safety by counterfeit goods, he states that enforcement must continue. "After two decades, the calls for enforcement have not been quieted, telling me that after hundreds of thousands of enforcement actions the problem remains unabated. I believe that a more concerted effort should be undertaken in the area of education and awareness that addresses the role of intellectual property in contributing to growth and development. Basically, we should delve into the potential benefits of intellectual property and reach a better balance between enforcement and education."

The book provides examples of education and awareness approaches that might be undertaken, using technology and injecting some fun into the programs.

About Timothy Trainer

Mr. Trainer is an attorney in Washington, D.C. He established the Global Intellectual Property Strategy Center, P.C., a legal consulting business in 2005. Later, he incorporated Galaxy Systems, Inc., which has developed online IPR education tools ( His intellectual property experience includes his years at the U.S. Customs Service where he was one of the first attorneys in the Intellectual Property Rights Branch. He has also worked at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Outside of government, he was an associate at a law firm and also served as president of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition.

The book is available at:

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