The protection of intellectual property is arguably the most significant challenge facing multi-national corporations today. At The W Group, we have developed a range of solutions aimed at brand protection and intellectual property preservation to help clients manage these risks internationally.
According to available statistics, the loss of intellectual property from counterfeiting, piracy, the gray market or outright theft is truly staggering. One source, the Business Software Alliance, estimates that “thirty-five percent of the packaged software installed on Personal Computers in 2005 was illegal, amounting to $34 billion in global losses due to software piracy.”
The World Customs Organization estimated that counterfeiting accounts for 5% to 7% of global trade, the equivalent of lost sales amounting to an estimated US $512 billion in 2004 alone. Most experts agree the increase of counterfeit and “gray market” of product in the past five years has been “massive.” One recent report claims that over 80% of the computers in China contain stolen software.
The threat to intellectual property is widespread – and while not exclusive to emerging markets – the illicit trade, manufacture and distribution of goods tends to be concentrated in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, precisely the locations multi-national corporations are looking to expand as “outsourcing” and new market development becomes more prevalent.
It seems that every product manufactured and every industry – from technology to pharmaceuticals to luxury goods and apparel to batteries and car parts – has been impacted by some form of counterfeit, gray market, piracy or theft.
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