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AAFA urges stronger intellectual property enforcement
May '13
The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) welcomed publication of the 2013 Special 301 Report by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). The Special 301 Report is an annual assessment of global intellectual property rights enforcement and protection.

"When we get dressed each day, we wear more than clothes and shoes.  We wear the intellectual property that makes those clothes and shoes the most innovative, the most fashionable, and the most technologically advanced possible," said AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke.

"Whether combating global trademark infringement or the explosive proliferation of rogue websites selling fake goods, the creative power of more than four million U.S. apparel and footwear industry workers continues to be threatened by a flood of counterfeit goods all around the world."

"I applaud the best efforts of the broad coalition of U.S. government agencies, law enforcement, and international partners who continue to police the black market and help U.S. brands and companies protect their intellectual property," Burke said.

“AAFA will continue working with administration and congressional officials, and our international trade partners, as we combat the scourge of counterfeiting.  We will also work to educate U.S. consumers and retailers about the public health threats and economic harm that comes along with intellectual property theft."

In January 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released its annual IPR

Seizure Statistics for 2012. Footwear, apparel, handbags, and accessories continue to dominate the black market accounting for 74 percent of the total products seized over the last year. The total value of all counterfeit seizures has decreased in domestic value by 12.2 percent since 2011 but increased in Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) from $1.11 billion to $1.26 billion.

Issues related to counterfeiting and other intellectual property protection concerns are addressed through AAFA’s Brand Protection Council.  The Brand Protection Council focuses its efforts on the global war against counterfeit apparel, footwear, and supplier products. Charged with helping to protect U.S. branded products against cheap imitations that are flooding the marketplace, the council is composed of legal, brand enforcement, and marketing representatives of U.S. based companies.


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