US Senate passes anti-counterfeit awareness resolution

A bipartisan resolution in the US recognising the month of July as National Anti-Counterfeiting and Consumer Education and Awareness Month has been passed in the Senate.

The S.Res.736 resolution – cosponsored by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) – was cleared earlier this week by unanimous consent and according to the lawmakers “highlights the importance of the roles of trademarks in the American economy and in protecting consumer safety.”

The aim is to use the month to educate the public and raise public awareness about the actual and potential dangers counterfeit products pose to consumers and brand owners and reinforce the need for coordinated activity by industry and state and federal governments to fight the trade.

“Combating counterfeits doesn’t just spur innovation by giving creators faith that their ideas will be protected; it also safeguards trust in our community, ensuring quality and performance, and keeps consumers safe,” said Sen Coons, when the resolution was introduced last month.

“As Co-Chair of the Congressional Trademark Caucus, I’m committed to raising awareness for American consumers of the harms of counterfeit goods and the importance of trademarks to our intellectual property system.”

The resolution has been applauded by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), whose members are at the sharp end of the scourge of counterfeiting, which said however that it was “only a first step.”

“Congress now needs to actually stop these dangerous counterfeits by passing the Shop Safe Act, sorely needed legislation with proactive measures to keep counterfeits from being listed for sale online in the first place,” commented AAFA president and chief executive Steve Lamar.

The Shop Safe Act has been repeatedly introduced in Congress over the last few years most recently last September by Sens. Coons and Tillis, but has been unable to make it onto the statute. It would also establish trademark liability for online marketplaces when a third party sells a counterfeit that poses a risk to consumer health or safety.

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