by Nicole Flatow
Large-scale theft of information technology and intellectual property is becoming an increasingly serious problem for U.S. manufacturers competing in the global market, requiring new and better mechanisms for enforcement, according to a new ACS Issue Brief.
In 2009, for every $100 worth of legitimate software sold, an additional $75 of unlicensed software “also made its way into the market.” And in 2010, the estimated value of stolen software spiked 14 percent.
This rate of theft has a debilitating impact on businesses operating legally and seriously hampers competition, American University law professor Andrew F. Popper explains in his Issue Brief, “Beneficiaries of Misconduct: A Direct Approach to IT Theft.”
“Companies profiting from stolen IT are not just free-riding on the successes of those who design and produce the products and ideas that drive the U.S. economy—they are destabilizing the pricing market and distorting lawful competition,” Popper writes.
To tackle this problem, enforcement should directly address the harms this theft imposes on the competitive market through both state and federal unfair competition mechanisms, Popper asserts.