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Durbin Questions Witnesses During Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property Hearing on Foreign Threats to U.S. Innovation & Economy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today questioned witnesses at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property (IP) hearing entitled, “Foreign Competitive Threats to American Innovation and Economic Leadership.”  Today’s bipartisan hearing examined the risks posed by nation-state adversaries, especially China, to American innovation and economic leadership.

Durbin first mentioned his INFORM Consumers Act, which is designed to combat the online sale of stolen, counterfeit, and dangerous consumer products by requiring e-commerce marketplaces to verify the identity of certain high-volume sellers and share this information with consumers.  The bipartisan legislation was passed in December 2022 as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Act and signed into law by President Biden.

“The INFORM [Consumers] Act was the result of a conversation I had ten years ago with Home Depot who said ‘they are selling our own home drills… on the internet in volume.  They are either stolen or counterfeit…’  Well, you’d think if they were stolen or counterfeit, the vendor would like to know that too.  They didn’t want to hear anything about it and they refused to identify the source of that drill being sold on the internet,” Durbin said.  “It took us ten years to create a law, which we finally passed in December, which moves us in the right direction.  [Senator] Bill Cassidy was my cosponsor on it.  But it is an indication of what we have faced in the past.”

Durbin then asked the witnesses about other countries, besides China, that might be engaging in economic espionage; what the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) is on IP; and how China has become competitive with the United States when it comes to innovation and IP.

Video of Durbin’s remarks in Committee is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks in Committee is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks in Committee is available here for TV Stations.