December 21, 2022

Van Hollen Legislation to Curb IP Theft Passes Senate

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has announced the Senate’s passage of his Protecting American Intellectual Property Act, bipartisan legislation he and Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) introduced to mandate strong economic penalties on firms and individuals involved in stealing American intellectual property. The legislation was unanimously passed by the Senate last night. 

“Foreign companies around the world, and especially many in China, are working overtime to steal U.S. technology – damaging our economy, harming U.S. job creation, and threatening our national security in the process. To deter these bad actors, we must draw a line in the sand and put forward clear consequences for their actions – our bill does just that. I’m glad to see the Senate unanimously pass this common-sense, bipartisan bill, and I urge my House colleagues to take it up at once,” said Senator Van Hollen. 

Background on the Protecting American Intellectual Property Act is below: 

The Protecting American Intellectual Property Act requires a report to Congress within six months, and annually thereafter, identifying:

  • Any individual or firm that has engaged in, benefitted from, or provided support for the significant theft of U.S. trade secrets, if that theft constitutes a major threat to the national security, foreign policy, economic health, or financial stability of the United States; and,
  • The chief executive officers and board members of the reported firms and whether those individuals have benefitted from the significant theft of U.S. trade secrets. 

Subsequently, the bill requires:

  • For any firm identified in the report to Congress, the President must impose at least five sanctions from a comprehensive menu consistent with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. Among others, the menu includes property blocking sanctions, export prohibitions, the prohibition of loans from U.S. and international financial institutions, procurement sanctions, and prohibition of banking transactions.
  • For any individual identified in the report to Congress, the President must impose property blocking sanctions and must prohibit the individual’s entry into the United States. 

The legislation also includes a national interest waiver. 

The Senators first introduced this bill in June 2020 and later reintroduced this legislation in April 2021.