Anti-Counterfeiting Bill Goes To Florida Governor.

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 3, 2008. -- The Florida Senate passed House Bill 1417 yesterday in response to a number of incidents in the past year around the country that illustrated the danger posed to consumers and busiesses by substandard, and often toxic, counterfeit products.

The legislation now awaits the signature of Florida Governor Charlies Crist. The new law would increase penalties for trafficking in counterfeit goods that result in a consumer’s injury or death, stiffen penalties for repeat offenders, and require mandatory payment of restitution to victims of the crime.

The Florida bill adopts a number of components included in the Model State Anti-Counterfeiting Statute, developed in cooperation between the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) and the International Trademark Association (INTA), and endorsed by the US Chamber of Commerce.

"The legislature has sent a clear message to counterfeiters," said IACC President, Robert Barchiesi, "that the harm they cause to legitimate businesses and innocent consumers, will not be tolerated by the State of Florida." "We applaud the leadership of Attorney General McCollum, Senator Diaz de la Portilla, Representative Gardiner, and each of their staffs, in bringing attention to this important issue. Their tireless efforts have helped to make Florida a safer place for both consumers and businesses."

It is esitmated that counterfeiting and piracy cost U.S. businesses approximately $250 billion per year, resulting in the elimination of hundreds of thousands of jobs and costing federal, state, and local governments billions of dollars worth of tax revenue.

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