'IP czar' looking to curb theft of trade secrets

The White House's new intellectual property "czar" is slated to propose new executive actions and legislative recommendations to Congress to help curb the theft of U.S. trade secrets. 

During his first major speech as the White House's intellectual property enforcement coordinator, Daniel Marti said Thursday that trade secret theft online "threatens American businesses, undermines our national security and places the health of the U.S. economy in jeopardy."

ADVERTISEMENT

"My office is in the process of developing a set of legislative recommendations and executive actions to improve the protection and enforcement of trade secrets domestically and abroad," he said in a speech before the Chamber of Commerce. 

He touted President Obama's recent executive action that allows the government to impose sanctions on people or groups who offer support to obtain or knowingly receive trade secrets that were stolen in cyber hacks. 

Marti has been on the job for about three weeks after being unanimously confirmed by the Senate last month. He acknowledged the infancy of his office, which was established in 2008 and has been vacant since 2013.

One of his major procedural goals will be to increase the office's resources, he said. His office is working on a broad strategic plan for intellectual property enforcement for the next three years. 

Marti was nominated last year and joked about the long wait before being confirmed. He underwent two rounds of confirmation hearings before his nomination making it to the Senate floor. 

"Thanks for referencing my two confirmation hearings, that was a lot of fun," he said. 

During the speech, he hit on a number of other topics, including his support for patent reform in Congress and the importance of placing strong intellectual property protections in U.S. trade deals being negotiated. 

He also said the country needs to change its cultural attitude when it comes to intellectual property theft online. He said he particularly identifies with the creative community, noting that he was an aspiring poet when in college. 

"We must reject a cultural indifference about what constitutes a crime on the Internet," he said. "We must work together to prevent those who seek to exploit this environment for their own profit. We cannot turn a blind eye when somebody robs a person of their creative expressions, simply because the theft occurs online."