OCA warns auto industry and supply chain of Unfair Competition Laws
The Open Computing Alliance (OCA), an international agency for intellectual property and trade, has issued a warning to the automotive sector in Thailand, urging major automotive companies to ensure that their supply chain do not use illegitimate computer software.
OCA has issued similar pleas for compliance with intellectual property laws in Thailand, but has now turned its focus to the automotive sector, and is urging the auto sector leadership to manage its software assets.
OCA has held a workshop for leaders in the auto sector to learn how to avoid possible charges of unfair competition from the US following a recent number of cases against Japanese companies for software piracy in Thailand.
OCA Secretary - General for Asia Pacific, Michael Mudd, has warned exporters in Japan as well as their operations in China, Thailand and across Asia about the more intense enforcement of the unfair competition laws in the United States. These laws require US trade partners to use only legitimate IT in all business operations or risk seizure of products at US ports.
"Perhaps a better way to look at it is to look at what the law is intended to achieve and then examine the opportunities for Japanese exporters, including those with plants in third countries, such as China or Thailand which may also be impacted by these laws," said Mudd.
"The United States is a major trading partner of Japan, with exports of manufactured goods reaching USD $135 billion in 2012."
The warning from OCA followed the recent move by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who invoked the California Unfair Competition Law to address the harm caused to local businesses by the import manufactured products using unlicensed software. She filed lawsuits against two apparel manufacturers— Ningbo Beyond Home Textile Co. Ltd, based in China, and India-based Pratibha Syntex Ltd. and their affiliate companies. Both companies face fines that could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars based on similar cases of software copyright violations in California.
OCA cited independent reports to point out that the software piracy rates are 72 percent for Thailand, 86 percent in Indonesia and 81 percent in Vietnam.
"Major centres of Japanese investment in manufacturing and exports to the US are at risk unless IP compliance is enforced by robust audit," Mudd said.