Last week the Commonwealth of Massachusetts took a step toward leveling the playing field for companies that invest in information technology and do so by playing by the rules. The Massachusetts Attorney General fined a Thailand-based seafood company $10,000 for using unlicensed software in its operations. The AG sent a strong message that companies competing unfairly against those in her state will not be tolerated.

This case is another example of bad actors using pirated or counterfeit information technology to gain an advantage over companies that follow the rule of law. Unfortunately, we have seen this tactic growing inside the highly-competitive manufacturing marketplace.

Like many other industries, manufacturers place a heavy emphasis on expensive technology tools as they work to out-innovate their competition from around the world. For example, computer software tools run machines, design products, and make facilities run efficiently and it does not come cheap. These tools leveraged in manufacturing environments are quite often the target of unscrupulous actors who steal or copy it. These companies are taking – for free – IT products for which companies have to pay a significant cost. This creates an unfair advantage over law-abiding manufacturers.

Stopping this practice that is hurting manufacturers is a priority for the NAM in Washington. If you feel you have been impacted by unfair competition, we encourage you to contact us and join our efforts. We would also encourage you to consider joining the newly-launched National Alliance for Jobs and Innovation, a coalition formed to use existing law to help stop this unfair competition.

The innovation lead we have enjoyed in the manufacturing sector is what has driven the economy to grow. We need that growth to continue and not be slowed by those not playing by the rules.

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