October 1, 2014

McGruff’s 2014 Crime Prevention Month will “Get Real about IP Theft”

By Brian Noyes

This October, the nation’s leading canine-crime prevention advocate, McGruff the Crime Dog, is partnering with the nation’s leading business advocate, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to raise awareness about the hazards of dangerous fakes. In the campaign, “Get Real About Intellectual Property Theft”, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) has taken steps to draw attention to one of the most significant problems with counterfeit goods – the fact that unsuspecting consumers can find themselves in harm’s way.  Whether it is physical danger from an exploding power cord or illegal medicines, or from cyber threats like malware and stolen identities, an educated shopper can take steps to avoid harm.

Fortunately, during National Crime Prevention Month in October, NCPC is reaching out to local law enforcement, consumer groups and individuals through this campaign to point out “intellectual property theft is not a victimless crime.”  And while this effort is focused on providing consumers with valuable tips to protect themselves from potential threats, there are even more threats to the businesses who are being ripped off to consider as well.

The loss of revenue and harm to a legitimate company’s brand caused by these knock offs are also dangerous to future economic success.

Billions of dollars are spent in research and development to create the most amazing technology, life-saving medicines and coolest entertainment.   Millions of high-paying jobs are added to the economy in IP-intensive industries, jobs that pay on average 30 % more than the national average.

Unfortunately, the theft of intellectual property can jeopardize all of that.

But, it is not all doom and gloom.  Not only are businesses taking steps to provide their products to their customers in the safest and most convenient ways possible, but through voluntary agreements and new technologies there are many ways where industry is working to prevent illegal sales from competing with legitimate sales.   Partnerships with law enforcement, including better information sharing and strategies to combine criminal and civil actions, have also produced significant results.

While more can, and will always need to be done, the partnership with NCPC to help empower consumers, added to the traditional ingenuity and drive of free enterprise, there definitely progress being made.

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