FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jackson, MS - Mississippi?s fight against counterfeit goods keeps getting stronger, announced Attorney General Jim Hood today.
Attorney General Hood is proud to announced the receipt of a second federal grant, totaling $166,365, from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (OJP). The grant funds will be used to continue the efforts of a statewide Intellectual Property Theft Task Force and will enhance the efforts of Operation Knock Out Knock-Offs (Operation K.O.K.O.) which was established in 2009.
The new grant will also allow for the formation of a Mississippi IP Crime Center system (?MIPCC?). MIPCC will:
? Create a computerized database allowing for prompt disclosure of information and coordination between law enforcement agencies concerning IP crimes and criminals;
? Provide the general public with information relating to IP crimes, including a confidential reporting system; and
? Serve as a means to provide education and awareness of IP crimes and safety issues to both law enforcement and consumers.
? The public portion of MIPCC will summarize the law, provide links to related websites, contain a frequently asked questions section, and provide a means to issue consumer alerts.
Counterfeit goods can range from counterfeit prescription drugs, curling irons, contact lenses, brake pads and clothing to pirated music and movies. These goods pose a serious threat to both consumers? safety and the state?s economy. ?The fake goods, which pose a health danger to residents, continue to be our primary concern,? said Attorney General Hood. ?However, we are continuing our efforts to go after those who make or sell knock-offs of brand label products.?
The Mississippi Attorney General?s Office was the only state attorney generals office awarded such a grant and only one of 13 grantees that were awarded funding under the category for support to law enforcement. This category is geared towards improving the state?s capacity to address criminal intellectual property enforcement. Other grantees were the: County of Fresno, CA, Los Angeles County, CA Sheriff’s Department, County of Sacramento, CA, Miami Shores Village, FL, North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, Bronx County, NY District Attorney, New York City, The New York County District Attorney’s Office, Houston, TX Police Department, City of San Antonio, TX, Chesterfield County, VA, Virginia Department of State Police.
In 2009, Operation K.O.K.O. created a statewide task force of federal, state and local authorities; provided
education to local authorities through statewide and regional training; assisted local authorities in enforcing IP laws through investigatory, technical and prosecutorial assistance; and, also provided much needed education to merchants and consumers on the danger of counterfeit goods and safety concerns.
?Through Operation K.O.K.O., we continue our efforts to protect Mississippi businesses and consumers by prosecuting those who sell counterfeit prescription drugs, contact lenses, brake pads, and other items that harm Mississippi consumers,? said Attorney General Hood. ?A thank you goes out to our current Operation K.O.K.O. task force members on a job well done since our initial kick-off in 2009.?
If your agency is interested in this task force or would like additional information on Operation K.O.K.O., please contact the Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-281-4418. In addition, if any business, trade association, or industry group is interested in assisting the task force, please contact our office.