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US Senators Initiate Legislation to Halt Intellectual Property Theft by Global Competitors

The bill, which was co-sponsored by Senators Rob Portman, Tom Carper, Marco Rubio, and Maggie Hassan, also stipulates providing the Department of Education with authority to punish those US schools that fail to duly report gifts received from foreign entities.

A group of US Senators has initiated legislation aimed at preventing American research and intellectual property from being stolen by global competitors, including China. 

In a statement on Thursday, Senator Rob Portman said that “this bill will help us stop foreign governments from stealing our research and innovation while also increasing transparency to ensure that taxpayers know when colleges and universities accept significant foreign funding”.

Apart from Portman, the “Safeguarding American Innovation Act” was also co-sponsored by Senators Tom Carper, Marco Rubio, and Maggie Hassan.

The bill specifically aims to protect research and innovation on US campuses as well as stop the theft of American intellectual property by China and other countries.

Additionally, the document envisages penalising individuals with fines and prison terms for failing to disclose foreign support related to federal grant applications.  

On top of that, the bill obliges authorities to punish those US schools which fail to properly report gifts received from foreign entities.

The bill comes amid the White House’s drive to tighten the screws on intellectual property theft pertaining to US college and university campuses as some Chinese nationals are suspected of being involved in the matter.

The clampdown includes a high-profile case of a Harvard University professor who pleaded not guilty earlier this week following accusations that he lied to the US government about his being connected with a China-run recruitment programme and about the funding that he received from Beijing in exchange for research.

In a separate development, Reuters cited unnamed sources as saying last month that Washington may cancel the visas of thousands of graduate students from China, who are suspected of having links with the Chinese military.

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