According to private watchdog group, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, annual losses of intellectual property range from around $225 billion to as much as $600 billion. The breakdown is as follows:
- Theft of Trade Secrets: between $180 billion and $540 billion.
- Counterfeit Goods: between $29 billion and $41 billion.
- Pirated Software: $18 billion.
China, including Hong Kong, is the biggest culprit, says the commission, accounting for about 87 percent of the counterfeit goods which are confiscated at the border. The report issued by the commission states that Chinese authorities actually encourage the theft of intellectual property.
The commission is headed by former governor of Utah and Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, who was also a US ambassador to China; and a former director of US national intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair.
“The vast, illicit transfer of American innovation is one of the most significant economic issues impacting U.S. competitiveness that the nation has not fully addressed,” Huntsman said. “It looks to be, must be, a top priority of the new administration.”