From the islands of Indonesia, the IP Komodo prowls South East Asia and beyond looking for succulent morsels of intellectual property news with the aim of to raising awareness of South East Asia's IP issues to help people understand this diverse region's IP complexities.
An article in this week's Bangkok Post shows how
US laws' extra territorial effect impacts on the IP arena. Most US states have Unfair
Competition laws which target importers of pirated software and IT products
created using it. This includes businesses overseas who sell their IT products to
The laws also apply to those who design unrelated IT products using pirated software. Beware Asian businesses convicted of unlicensed software (see here for details of previous software cases in the ASEAN region). Countries with significant IT industries and a high rate of piracy,
like Thailand therefore are concerned.
Both state attorney-generals and the IP owners
can take action under the laws. Notices can be issued to the infringing company,
which can mean to companies outside the US. They may bring litigation in the
US, but this may not matter to the foreign company, without reciprocal judgment
enforcement. However its products may be blocked from importation into the US.
The big fear expressed in Thailand is that
so many people use pirated software that a large swathe of Thai IT exports to
the US could be affected. The Thai authorities
expect to raid thousands of local companies in the next year and 90% of these will likely
be found using pirated software, according to the Royal Thai Police Economic Crimes
As the world rebalances economically, IP Komodo
expects more attempts by so called developed markets to prevent perceived unfair
competition from increadingly successful emerging countries, where local rules are laxer and their
companies can lower costs illegally to compete in an allegedly unfair way.