Apr 242013

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine suppliers and exporters to the United States may be charged with “unfair competition” once discovered using pirated software, an intellectual property firm said Wednesday.

Open Computing Alliance (OCA), an international trade agency, urged the local export industry, particularly in Cebu, to adhere to software licensing rules as they can be subjected to US laws punishing patrons of piracy.

OCA Asia Pacific secretary-general Michael Mudd said in a statement that Washington state, for one, passed a bill prohibiting even foreign businesses in touch with the US “while using stolen or misappropriated information technology.”

“Although this is not a US Federal law, the principle is enshrined in the US Federal Trade Commission in preventing unfair competitive advantage and providing a level playing field,” Mudd added.

He said that exporters charged with violations may affect the whole of the country’s trading ties with the US, which has been a significant market for Philippine products.

Citing 2011 data alone, Mudd said that Philippine exports to the North American country reached $9.1 billion.

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The intellectual property expert gave garments companies Ningbo Beyond Home Textile from China and Pratibha Syntex from India which are facing “unfair competition” lawsuits that may penalize them for over $100,000 for software copyright violations.

“Software is a small fraction of total operating expenses but can be a high cost if it has not been properly paid for. IT piracy is an issue that must be dealt with immediately for a stable business environment that leads to growth,” Mudd said.

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