JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - A new grant will help Mississippi continue the fight against counterfeit merchandise. Attorney General Jim Hood announced Monday that his office has won a $200,000 federal grant for 2012 to advance its "Operation Knock Out Knock-Offs" program.
"Intellectual property theft cheats legitimate retailers out of much-needed revenue during these hard economic times and poses a health hazard in the case of 'knock-off' medication and food items, which are not subject to federal health standards and may contain hazardous ingredients," said Attorney General Hood.
This grant is the third consecutive award from the U.S. Department of Justice to the Mississippi AGO regarding counterfeit crime, and will be used in part to fund overtime pay for task force members. The new grant, which does not require state matching funds, also finances product-specific training for investigators.
"The Department of Justice's IP grants play an important role in facilitating greater enforcement at the state and local level. We recognize the Department of Justice and General Hood's office for their continued efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy - a scourge that kills American jobs and endangers consumer health and safety," said Rob Calia, Global Intellectual Property Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Earlier grants helped finance the creation of the intellectual property crime task force and provided equipment related to counterfeit investigation and consumer/merchant education materials. The current grant helped fund the development of the Mississippi Intellectual Property Crime Center.
The Mississippi Intellectual Property Crimes Center (MIPCC) website, http://mipcc.ago.state.ms.us, offers tips to help consumers recognize and alert authorities to bogus brand names. The website also features a password protected zone specially designed for use by law enforcement agencies.