August 21, 2012

Bangkok Post: U.S. Unfair Competition Laws Will Impact Software Piracy in Thailand

Bangkok Post

New legislation in the United States will help to crack down on companies that use pirated software in Thailand, according to a feature report in the Bangkok Post, published on August 19, 2012.

A total of 36 U.S. states and territories have passed Unfair Competition Acts, under which action can be taken against companies that use stolen or pirated IT in the production of their goods. This applies to all goods marketed or sold in these jurisdictions, even if they are manufactured abroad.

Wiramrudee (Pink) Mokkhavesa, attorney-at-law in the intellectual property group at Tilleke & Gibbins, warns that American companies have been quick to commence legal actions under these laws. “Companies and attorneys-general in the U.S. have already started sending notices to many Thai manufacturers warning them to replace stolen IT,” she said.

Thai manufacturers are likely to continue to face such actions, as software piracy remains a major problem in the Kingdom. The commercial value of pirated software in Thailand amounts to THB 26.4 billion, almost three times the value of sales from legal products.

To minimize risk, local businesses would be well advised to review their IT systems and supplier networks to ensure legal compliance. By doing so, Thai companies may open up new opportunities for themselves, according to Darani Vachanavuttivong, co-managing partner and managing director of the Tilleke & Gibbins IP team. “This is a good opportunity for Thai entrepreneurs because if we can comply with the law … we can also promote our products by telling our customers that we use legitimate IT in every manufacturing process,” she said. “It is a great chance to act before our competitors.”

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