PHOTO - Stacy Baird, former advisor to members of the US Senate and US House of Representatives.
KUALA LUMPUR - A new Washington State law could have impact on Asia's manufacturers and their customers who sell products in the U.S., according to a former advisor to the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
Stacy Baird, former advisor to members of the U.S, Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, said the new law would forbid any companies using pirated software or stolen IT assets to sell any of its products in the state. "The law applies whether the illegal IT is used in their manufacturing or their business operations. Washington State isn't the only state with the law on its books, Louisiana has enacted similar law, and other U.S. states are considering it."
"Using stolen IT may give a company an unfair cost advantage over competitors who use legitimate IT," said Baird. "So Washington has provided disadvantaged competitors an avenue to recover losses and stop an unfair competitor from selling products in the state if they don't change their ways."
He said the new law applied to a manufacturer anywhere in the world, such as the U.S. and China, including Southeast Asia. "The key criterion is that the manufacturer's products are offered for sale in Washington State. So a company based in Indonesia can take a manufacturer based anywhere in the world into court in Washington State or bring its case to the Washington State Attorney General."
"This new law will impact manufacturers here [in Asia], if not directly, indirectly," added Baird. "If the manufacturer that uses illegal IT can't afford to pay the court-awarded damages or is not within the jurisdiction of the court, a disadvantaged competitor can sue the customer of that manufacturer if that customer offers the manufacturer's products for sale in Washington state, or the manufactured products are a component of the customer's own products sold in the state."
New law favours companies using legitimate IT
"But the law will also work in favour of some manufacturers and even countries," he said. "The new law creates a great opportunity for companies that use legitimate IT and promote that fact. It also creates potential for a competitive advantage for economies in which legitimate IT flourishes in the manufacturing sector. That competitive advantage could be enhanced if Southeast Asia takes the lead in setting global standards and developing certification programmes for manufacturers."
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