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Former Wash. AG named president of alliance aimed at stopping IP theft

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jul 30, 2013

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- Former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna has been named the president of the National Alliance for Jobs and Innovation.

The alliance, a non-partisan organization of more than 200 members aimed at stopping unfair competition resulting from stolen intellectual property through piracy, counterfeiting or trade secret theft, made the announcement Tuesday.

McKenna, a Republican, served as Washington's top lawyer from 2004 to 2012. He ran, unsuccessfully, for governor in 2012.

NAJI said in a statement that the former attorney general, who is currently a partner in Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP's Seattle office and co-head of the firm's public policy group, also will join its board of directors.

"I am enormously excited to help keep a spotlight on the issue of IP theft and its serious impacts on American jobs and economic growth," McKenna said in a statement. "Our country's ability to create and maintain good-paying jobs in manufacturing and information technology is among the most crucial challenges we face.

"When foreign competitors steal our IT and IP and use it to compete unfairly against American companies, we not only lose jobs and reduce growth, we also discourage our innovators' creative and entrepreneurial spirit. We simply cannot afford to allow unfair competition to steal our future."

As attorney general, McKenna co-launched the National Association of Attorneys General Intellectual Property Task Force to advance the national fight against counterfeiting and piracy.

He also successfully challenged a large overseas manufacturer to pay more than $3 million in software licensing fees it owed and end its practice of using unlicensed software to gain a competitive advantage.

According to the Business Software Alliance, more than $60 billion worth of software is stolen globally each year, providing the companies that steal this software and other information technology with an unfair competitive cost advantage over their competitors.

On the other hand, in 2010 alone, U.S. manufacturers spent nearly $95 billion on IT, which is a critical component of research, development and production.

According to NAJI, if global piracy were reduced by 10 percent in four years, it would result in more than $37 billion in added U.S. GDP, $6.2 billion in U.S. tax revenue and 25,000 new U.S. jobs.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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