Software Piracy Threats

Antitrust Law State Enforcement Committee Newsletter | November.15.2013

Public policy partner Rob McKenna authored an article in the Antitrust Law State Enforcement Committee Newsletter that discussed the growing threat of software piracy from overseas to U.S. companies and manufacturers. An excerpt from the article is included below.

A broad swath of U.S. companies, particularly manufacturers, face a growing threat from overseas competitors who use the theft of software to gain an unfair business edge. The commercial value of pirated software exceeds $60 billion annually.

A company using stolen information technology (IT) can leverage its savings to increase staff, invest in R&D, and expand facilities. Often, the stolen software can also provide a technological advantage.

In the last few years, state legislators and Attorneys General have recognized this problem and taken action to protect companies operating in their states. In 2011, while serving as Washington State Attorney General, I worked with our legislature to enact a new law titled “Stolen or Misappropriated Information Technology,” which gives private plaintiffs and the Attorney General a cause of action to sue businesses that use stolen or misappropriated information technology to gain an unfair advantage in the manufacturing, production or assembly of products sold in Washington.​