More than the Sum of All Parts: Taking on IP and IT Theft Through a Global Partnership

Popper, Andrew F. | November 1, 2014

The core of this Article describes some of the efforts, both within and outside the United States, to control the epidemic of intellectual property and information technology (IP and IT) theft. Those engaged in the battle include prosecutors and judges, individuals and trade associations, and politicians and policymakers from all points on the political spectrum. And yet, even with so many forces working to stem the tide, the losses are staggering. An innovator with the potential to change his or her future as well as the prosperity of the surrounding economy, whether in Kentucky or Kinshasa, will be dissuaded from innovating if that which they invent or produce is readily stolen. Individual and governmental enforcement efforts are making a difference, but success in dealing with this problem does not lie in any one or even several approaches. Instead, there is a need for coordinated and collective efforts, harnessing domestic and international resources. The enforcement and control mechanisms discussed in this Article show the power and limits of each approach. Taken in the aggregate, however, there is reason to think a global change is possible. In a word, the solution lies in partnership. Through constant and transparent dialogue and the sharing of ideas and resources, a partnership has the potential to reverse the rate and impact of IP and IT theft. It may be the only way to begin the process of achieving the most important goal: a cultural shift resulting in universal condemnation of entities and individuals engaged in piracy, counterfeiting, and other forms of IP and IT theft.