SOUTH BEND -- As U.S. Lawmakers pressure China to stop companies overseas from stealing American products and their ideas, local company says intellectual property thieves profit at their expense.
Abro Industries is a company you've probably never heard of, but, Abro has made a name for itself overseas selling American-made automotive and consumer products.
It's William Mansfield's job to protect it.
"My entire job is fighting counterfeits," said Mansfield, Director of Intellectual Property for Abro Industries, Inc.
Abro Industries features a wall of shame. The shelves are lined with products from a number of imitators who attempted to profit at Abro's expense---including the Chinese company Hunan Magic.
Mansfield described one product that the features the picture of the company's Vice President's wife. He said counterfeiters cut off the head on the picture and replaced it with the head of a Chinese woman. On the shelves were the Abro original and the companies who violated the manufacturers intellectual property rights.
"It steals directly American jobs. Our products are mostly made in America. Our headquarters is here, our sales is here," said Mansfield. "Everything that takes away sales we could have had even if they were in another country hurts our people here in the United States."
Former Senator Evan Bayh's co-sponsored legislation to toughen laws helped.
A czar determines how to better protect copyrights here in the US and around the world and a committee also makes laws tougher.
Lawmakers, though, told China's president Hu Jintao this week, the country needs to crack down even more.
It's a global market and this company believes China is the future.
"I think it's the future of a lot of American businesses," said Mansfield.
But this company and Congress wants to make sure property and trademarks, overseas, are protected.
It's one reason why Mansfield encourages companies to trademark their products in a respective country even if they don't have plans to conduct business there.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls intellectual property theft an epidemic. $250 billion dollars of American products are stolen here in the US and abroad. The Chamber estimates 750 thousand American jobs are lost.