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FBI's new squad will crack down on Internet-based intellectual property infringement

The FBI announced Friday that it had created a squad to investigate intellectual property-related crimes. Specifically, the squad will focus in cybercrimes. Although the unit is based in Washington, D.C., it's entirely feasible that it could wind up benefitting people in Sacramento. After all, there are no borders on the Internet.

As more and more people use websites to purchase everything from clothes to electronics to medication, there is a growing concern that people are not getting what they think they are getting, and isn't just their pocketbooks that are at risk -- their personal safety hangs in the balance, too.

For example, is that Lipitor you ordered from a Taiwanese really Lipitor? Or is it a knockoff? That matters because the pharmaceutical company that makes Lipitor and sells it in the U.S. has to comply with laws and regulations, meaning it has put its product through safety testing and has affixed relevant warnings to its labels. That may not be the case with the Taiwanese "Lipitor."

(Of course, the company that makes Lipitor has an interest in preventing knockoffs, too, because people who buy imitations are not likely to buy its patented medication, which of course reduces its customer base.)

A spokesman for the FBI said the squad is composed of agents from a variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise. Apparently, the goal is to make sure the squad has a diverse array of talent and skills so that it can tackle the wide-ranging intellectual property issues that abound on the Internet.

Source: ABC News, "FBI in DC Creates Intellectual Property Squad," Eric Tucker, Oct. 12, 2012

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