April 21, 2021
Today, U.S. Senators Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) reintroduced the bipartisan Protecting American Intellectual Property Act, legislation to mandate strong economic penalties on firms and individuals involved in stealing American intellectual property. The Senators’ bill requires sanctions on individuals and firms found to engage in, benefit from, or enable the significant and serial theft of U.S. intellectual property. The Senators’ legislation was passed unanimously by the Senate in December 2020.
“We have to do more to protect American intellectual property from hackers and cheaters. Stealing our IP is routine for China’s thieves — getting serious about combating their actions by using tough economic tools, like sanctions, is a good place for us to start. This bipartisan legislation is a no-brainer,” said Senator Sasse.
The Protecting American Intellectual Property Act requires a report to Congress within six months, and annually thereafter, identifying:
- Any individual or firm that has engaged in, benefitted from, or provided support for the significant theft of U.S. trade secrets, if that theft constitutes a major threat to the national security, foreign policy, economic health or financial stability of the United States; and,
- The chief executive officers and board members of the reported firms and whether those individuals have benefitted from the significant theft of U.S. trade secrets.
Subsequently, the bill requires:
- For any firm identified in the report to Congress, the President must impose at least five sanctions from a comprehensive menu consistent with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. Among others, the menu includes property blocking sanctions, export prohibitions, the prohibition of loans from U.S. and international financial institutions, procurement sanctions, and prohibition of banking transactions.
- For any individual identified in the report to Congress, the President must impose property blocking sanctions and must prohibit the individual’s entry into the United States.
The text of the Protecting American Intellectual Property Act is available here.