AGO to create new task force

by Wally Northway

Published: September 25,2009

Tags: intellectual property, law enforcement

JACKSON — The Attorney General’s Office has received a federal grant to establish an Intellectual Property Theft Task Force and the commencement of “Operation Knock Out Knock-Offs” (Operation KOKO).

The federal grant from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (OJP) totals $200,000. OJP grants fund investigation, prosecution, prevention, training, and technical assistance activities related to all types of intellectual property (IP) crimes.

“The fake goods, which pose a health danger to residents, are our primary concern,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. “However, we’re also going after those who make or sell knock-offs of brand label products. We have found that dope dealers are turning to the lucrative trade of selling counterfeit products such as Apple Ipods and Sony camcorders. The trade of counterfeit products and pirated music and movies has also been linked to terrorist organizations as a funding source. It is a type of theft that costs American and Mississippi businesses dearly on the economic front and injure our consumers.”

Operation KOKO will create a statewide task force of federal, state and local authorities, increase the knowledge of local authorities on IP enforcement through intensive statewide and regional training, assist local authorities in enforcing IP laws through investigatory, technical, and prosecutorial assistance, educate merchants and the general public about the dangers of counterfeit goods through public service announcements and live presentations and 
focus on counterfeit goods that implicate safety concerns.

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