Fake goods, stolen secrets cost Minnesota businesses billions

Minneapolis Star Tribune
An industrial spy tries to steal $20 million in trade secrets from Minnesota-based Valspar paints. A crew of counterfeiters wants to move a million bucks worth of knockoff cellphone equipment through St. Paul. In a five-day Twin Cities sweep, federal agents seize 17,000 counterfeit items, everything from faux football jerseys to charade Chanel perfume.

The theft of intellectual property has grown into an organized crime wave that is costing businesses in Minnesota and across the country billions of dollars in lost revenue and pilfered ideas. The problem extends from fake Minnesota Twins gear to fake cancer drugs to fake Cisco computer software sold to the U.S. military.

Nationally, up to $250 billion is stolen from U.S. companies through such chicanery. Jobs are lost, innovation is undermined and consumers are left with a line of fraudulent products that range in quality “from inconvenient to deadly,” said Steve Tepp, director of intellectual property enforcement at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce…

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