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Emily Holbrook | December 6, 2012 at 8:12 am
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About the Author
Emily Holbrook is the executive managing editor for National Underwriter Life & Health and the former editor of Risk Management. You can read more of her writing at EmilyHolbrook.com.
Many people tend to look at an intellectual property theft as a socially acceptable crime. For example, we've all been to flea markets where counterfeit t-shirts, purses, watches, etc. are being sold for a fraction of the price of the item. The attitude of many people is, "I can't afford the real product, so I might as well buy the next best thing … I'm not hurting anyone." Well, I'm not so sure that is the case. By purchasing counterfeit goods, we are hurting the companies who own that intellectual property. In some cases, they spend millions of dollars on R&D to produce these goods and have earned the right to protect their investment. A theft of their intellectual property could result in substantial financial losses, layoffs and possibly bankruptcy.
There is also a darker side to counterfeiting and IP theft. Unbeknownst to many, there are numerous counterfeit products out there which pose a serious threats to health and safety of the public. Some of these products are being produced on a massive scale, things that we could never possibly imagine, such as; toothpaste, electrical components, baby formula, jet engine fan blades, brake pads, computer chips, pharmaceuticals and the list goes on. What's more troubling is that the quality of some of these products make them very difficult to distinguish from the real thing. … Caveat Emptor.
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