Intellectual Property and Counterfeit Goods
Intellectual property refers to any creations of the mind including inventions; artistic and literary works; symbols, images, slogans, designs, and names that are used for commercial exploitation. Intellectual property is protected by trademarks, copyright, and patents in the eyes of the law. According to Greenhalgh & Rogers (2010), the forms of protection ensure that the creators of the intellectual property receive financial benefits as well as recognition for their invention or creation. The main benefit of IP rights is that they promote an environment and a culture of overflowing innovation and creativity.
Moore (2012) postulates that the country loses more than $200 million every year due to counterfeit products that flood the American market. As of 2005, the international trade in counterfeit goods rose to about $200 billion. The existence of the trade in counterfeit has led to a decline in innovation, investment, international trade, and economic growth. Counterfeit medications pose serious health risks even death to American patients.
Theft of intellectual property especially sensitive defense information can pose an existential threat to the United States. The thieves may use the stolen material to create weapons targeted at the U.S. or discover information that points to weaknesses in the country’s defense system.
Executive Order 13,133
The Executive Order 13, 133 was created in 1999 during Bill Clinton’s presidency. The order established a working group that was entrusted with addressing unlawful activities over the Internet. The working group established by the order was meant to prepare reports and recommendations concerning how effective Federal laws were at providing a basis of investigation and prosecution of all unlawful activities conducted over the internet. The working group was also created to investigate the degree to which legal authorities, new technological systems, and capabilities would be required to carry out effective investigations into unlawful Internet activities as well as prosecutions of such behaviors. The working group was also meant to review the potential of existing tools to empower parents and teachers and other stakeholders in minimizing the risks posed by unlawful conduct that occurs over the Internet.
The working group was also mandated with the task of determining whether the internet industry was capable of self-regulation as well as figuring out whether technology-neutral laws and regulations actually exist.
Smart borders are simply permeable boundaries that nations set up in order to increase profit for the nations involved as well as reduce the cost of boundary administration and increase its efficiency. There are several instances where smart borders have been created by nations. For instance, the Smart Border Declaration was a deal signed in 2001 between Canada and the United States. The purpose of the bi-national deal is to improve border security between the two nations, enhance information sharing as well as law-enforcement co-operation between the two countries.
The European Union also came up with a Smart Borders Package in February 2013. The proposal came after the European Commission Communication recommended the establishment of the Entry/ Exit System and a Registered Traveler Programme. The EES records the travellers’ time and their points of entry and exit within the European Union. The Registered Traveller Programme would allow the frequent travellers to cross the present external borders without having to go through complex border checks once they leave the Schengen borders.
The package comprised three proposals that were aimed to enhance the management of the external borders in the European Union. The management of these borders include the fight against illegal immigration, facilitating border crossings for vetted third country national travellers as well as providing information on over-stayers.
The SMART Port Security Act, the SAFE Port Act, and the Small Vessel Security Strategy are laws designed to increase the maritime security efforts in the maritime borders of the United States. The SAFE Port Act established committees that share information with the port stakeholders to enhance the monitoring of port activities as well as developing the best plans to combat and prevent terrorist attacks. The Act also established interagency operations across the ports to allow for easier monitoring of ports as well as sharing information on potential threats.
The Small Vessel Security Strategy was employed to enhance the security of small vessels in the country’s maritime territory. Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, a lot of focus and security measures have been focused on the large commercial vessels at the exclusion of small vessels. However, the small vessels are also a security threat if not monitored properly (DHS 2008).
The small vessels are more vulnerable to use by terrorists, and smugglers of narcotics and weapons of mass destructions. It has also been reported that the small vessels have been the main transport means for waterborne improvised explosive devices. The reason behind the illegal and threatening activities using small vessels is that security efforts are not concentrated in monitoring and safeguarding the movement of small vessels.
The borders of the European Union and the U.S. Mexico border share some similarities as well as some major differences. The borders of the European Union allow free movement of European citizens. The citizens are allowed to move across countries within the Union, settle down, and take up jobs and residences in countries aside from the ones they were born in. Movement across the countries is very flexible with frequent flyers only requiring a national ID to pass through borders.
Mexico and U.S. do not share the same view on border permeability with the European Union. The U.S. – Mexico has the highest recorded number of legal crossings for any land border in the world. However, there are more than 500,000 illegal entries into the United States from Mexico. Since the border patrol activity is focused on major border cities such as El Paso and San Diego, majority of the immigrants use desert areas and mountain passes to enter America. There have been hundreds of migrant deaths along the Mexico-U.S. border.
Furthermore, the United States has erected the Mexico-United States barrier, which is a series of fences and walls to prevent the in-flow of illegal immigrants into Southwest U.S. The barrier was enacted through the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Sensors and cameras, a virtual fence of sorts also separate the walled sections. The United States claims that the barrier is necessary to control cartel violence across the border as well as to monitor border terrorists. However, critics claim that the deterrent not only destroys the ecosystem along the Rio Grande, it also threatens the safety and health of the illegal immigrants.
Despite the differences on permeability of the borders, there are some similarities between the New Europe borders and the border between Mexico and U.S. For instance, the use of Smart Borders is common in the EU and the U.S. – Mexico border. The United States has established Smart Borders to help with the administration of its southern border with Mexico. The Smart Borders also help to monitor and control immigration as well as enforce immigration laws. The borders are also useful in increasing the speed of movement of legal goods across the border. The Smart Border for the EU is used to control immigration from countries that are not part of the union.
Department of Homeland Security-DHS (2008). Small vessel security strategy. Retrieved on 22/3/2016 from https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/small-vessel-security-strategy.pdf
Greenhalgh, C. & Rogers, M. (2010). Innovation, Intellectual Property, and Economic Growth. New Jersey, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Moore, C. (2012, Apr 5). Counterfeit goods harm US economy and pose risk to consumers. HighBeam Business. Retrieved on 22/3/2016 from http://blog.highbeambusiness.com/2012/04/counterfeit-goods-harm-us-economy-and-pose-risk-to-consumers/