The Complex

Mike Rogers wants legislation to combat international IP, trade secret theft

Expect to see Congress take up legislation to punish nations and people that back global intellectual property theft and industrial espionage, House intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers said today. Such legislation could revoke visas of those involved in economic espionage or sanction countries that back such behavior.

Such actions would punish "nation-states that steal intellectual property and repurpose it for government companies to illegally compete in the market," Rogers told reporters after a breakfast in Washington, alluding to Chinese intellectual property theft. "That's something I'm working on, and we've got some great bipartisan support on this and great bicameral support, and we'll have an announcement on this soon."

He added that legislation to punish countries engaged in economic espionage will not be included latest version of CISPA, set to be voted on next month, but rather it will be "announced and ready sometime this year."

He hinted that the legislation could also punish people who knowingly do business with foreign entities that rely on intellectual property theft for their business model.

"I steal from your house, and I come to [another person's house] and try to sell it, it is both a crime for me to steal it and a crime for you to take stolen property. This should be no different. The only difference is, the value of it is exponentially bigger," said Rogers, a former FBI agent.

Early last month, Rogers said the U.S. must do more to confront China on its state-backed economic espionage campaigns.

"We need direct talks with China and it needs to be at the top of a bilateral discussion about cyber espionage," Rogers told Killer Apps on Feb. 13. "This is a problem of epic proportions here, and they need to be called on the carpet. There has been absolutely no consequences for what they have been able to steal and repurpose to date." Rogers suggested that the U.S. implement trade sanctions and identify "individuals who participate in this, go after their visas, go after family travel, all of the levers we have at the Department of State. The problem is that bad."

Last month the White House unveiled its strategy to combat the international theft of intellectual property and trade secrets. This effort is focused on international law enforcement efforts to catch IP thieves and diplomatic cooperation aimed at curbing state-backed theft of trade secrets.

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