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White House Issues Presidential Memorandum on Counterfeits

Date: October 20, 2020

The White House on October 13 issued a new presidential memorandum elevating the fight against counterfeit products sold on e-commerce platforms.

The memo, which builds on an executive order and Department of Homeland Security-led interagency report that were issued in January 2020, stresses that material harm caused by counterfeit goods, and stresses that e-commerce platforms “serve as key contributors to counterfeit trafficking by acting as intermediaries and providing marketplaces that match up buyers and sellers.” The order says that the executive branch should focus enforcement efforts on e-commerce platforms involved in counterfeit trafficking,” with calls for the Secretary of Homeland Security, working through the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and with the U.S. Attorney General, should “consider taking all appropriate action” to enforce existing law and to seize counterfeit imports and impose maximum fines and civil penalties on any e-commerce platform that “directs, assists with, or is in any way concerned in” those imports.

The order also states that the executive branch should pursue legislation to strengthen necessary executive authorities and increase resources to fight counterfeiting, with a directive for those same officials to develop a legislative proposal to promote these policy objectives within 120 days (or February 10, 2021).

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