Magazine article Security Management

Intellectual Property: It Really Is a Matter of Life and Death

Magazine article Security Management

Intellectual Property: It Really Is a Matter of Life and Death

Article excerpt

Protecting intellectual property rights may sound like arcana of interest to corporate attorneys rather than to law enforcement agents. After all, tracking down the sellers of fake watches or designer purses appears to pale in comparison to catching a murderer.

A new report from the Department of Justice proves otherwise. By pointing to tangible consequences of intellectual property theft that go far beyond loss of profits, the study illustrates that finding those who violate intellectual property rights might just be a life or death situation.

For example, the report notes that criminals "mislead the public into using potentially harmful items" because they have substituted "cheap filler for a product's real ingredients." It cites counterfeit versions of drugs meant to fight AIDS, heart disease, and Parkinson's disease.

In one case counterfeit pills were made of "a combination of floor wax and yellow lead-based paint normally used to mark roads." In another case, the report says that "counterfeit brake pads made of compressed sawdust resulted in the death of seven children."

The report makes a dozen recommendations "to further expand and strengthen the fight against intellectual property. …

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