You’ve gone to the theater and watched piracy warnings before the movie ever begins. The reinforced voice explains the consequences. In most cases, you may be sitting there thinking what does this have to do with me. However, its grandeur scale has everything to do with you. Imagine that you were a production assistant or a camera man or a writer on the set of that film. If the film is pirated then, consequences of no pay or various other derogatory issues may ensue for all involved. Better yet, it happens on smaller scales just the same. All levels of individuals are affected by the counterfeit use of property that belongs to someone else whatever it is: artistry, music, photography, publishing and more.
The movie negation was happening so frequently that the United States Government decided to step in and make this a federal offense. It proposes threats that can be hard to even fathom as an avid movie goer. However, as a consumer, you are a contributor to this massive economic blueprint. Fraudulent patterns in the world of intellectual property can devastate all of us. It is important to educate oneself about the global effects and then relate those to everyday cases.
"According to FBI, Interpol, World Customs Organization and International Chamber of Commerce estimates, roughly 7-8% of world trade every year is in counterfeit goods. That is the equivalent of as much as $512 billion in global lost sales. Of that amount, U.S. companies lose between $200 billion and $250 billion. IP theft has a major impact at home, too: according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in fiscal year 2010, nearly 20,000 seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods with a total domestic value of $188.1 million and a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1.4 billion were intercepted before entering the United States. The total domestic value of counterfeit products seized presenting potential safety or security risks seized was $42 million."
You see, economically, this affects you. Properly and legally protecting yourself could vastly improve business for you. Don't get too lost in the big picture movie that you forget to take care of the logistics. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is set up to help you take accountability of your intellectual property and take action against "fakes." They are in the business of protecting us all from fraudulent activity. At current, they are offering a six module course to educate the public on the benefits and processes of acquiring and protecting your intellectual property. These courses are available in 3 different languages.
Moreover, it is just as important to protect yourself at home in the United States as it is abroad. According to Stopfakes.gov, "research conducted by the USPTO found that only 15 percent of small businesses that conduct business overseas know that they need to file for IP protection abroad.
Many small businesses also may not have personnel and operations overseas, so they lack the "eyes and ears" needed to be vigilant globally and the theft of their IP can often go undetected. In addition, small businesses generally do not have the level of access or the resources, such as specialized legal counsel, that may be available to larger companies."
Staci Bockman, a small business owner in Nashville, TN has experienced first-hand international business gone array due to copyright issues. As a part owner of a pizzeria, 312 Pizza Company, in Nashville, TN, she properly documented all aspects of her business ranging from copywriting the menu to trademarks of packaging and more. Next thing she knew, she was surfing the internet and found a company in Tunisia using her signage, marketing and more alike. She said, "They copied our whole brand." She has been working with her lawyer to resolve such issues the appropriate way. Obviously, being a small business owner does not exclude you from big predators ready to take your ideas and logistics. Luckily, Bockman and her family run a tight ship by channeling the necessary measures of protecting your Intellectual Property.
Questions pertaining to the vastness of intellectual property continue to rise. The measures to protect oneself are imperative. Moreover, the need to report counterfeit behavior is just as important. Start having these conversations amongst your colleagues. We all are capable of producing ideas and business ventures worth the discussion. To test your current knowledge of intellectual property the USPTO has elicited an IP awareness assessment tool specifically designed to help you assess and act accordingly.
Learn more about intellectual property and the role you play on the video below.