President Biden on Jan. 5 signed into law the Protecting American Intellectual Property Act that aims to prevent China-based corporations – and other foreign companies – from stealing U.S. intellectual property.

Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb., introduced the legislation, which will mandate economic penalties on firms and individuals involved in stealing American intellectual property.

“In China and other countries across the globe, foreign corporations are working – often in coordination with authoritarian regimes – to steal our cutting edge technologies to gain unfair advantages at America’s expense,” Sen. Van Hollen said in a Jan. 5 press release. “This also results in the off-shoring of American jobs and causes harm to our economy and our national security.”

“We must act to deter these predatory practices by imposing high costs. That’s why I worked with Senator Sasse to write bipartisan legislation that creates clear consequences for the theft of U.S. intellectual property. With President Biden’s signature of our bill… those who seek to steal American technology are officially on notice,” he added.

The legislation requires a report to Congress within six months, and annually thereafter, to identify individuals and firms involved in “significant theft of U.S. trade secrets.”

For the firms identified, the president is required to impose at least five sanctions, such as property-blocking sanctions, export prohibitions, or banking transaction prohibitions.

As for individuals, the president will impose property-blocking sanctions and must prohibit the individual’s entry into the United States.

Sens. Van Hollen and Sasse first introduced the legislation in June 2020 and later reintroduced the bill in April 2021. It passed both the Senate and House unanimously in December 2022.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.