September 15, 2015 10:00 ET

AGMA Urges Tech Companies to Protect Digital Intellectual Property, Points to Data as Key

Non-Profit Organization Educates on the Harmful Effects of Digital IP Abuse; Provides Best Practices for Identifying and Protecting Digital Assets

LOS GATOS, CA--(Marketwired - Sep 15, 2015) - From software to movies and music to the firmware that runs computers and just about everything on a mobile phone -- and more -- digital intellectual property (IP) is everywhere. It is a cornerstone of innovation and technological advancements, and the most rapidly growing portion of the global economy. 

A Billion Dollar Problem
Because digital IP is intangible in nature and knows no boundaries or physical borders -- protecting it is an especially difficult task that comes with unique challenges. Statistics from the FBI point to the fact that IP theft costs U.S. businesses billions of dollars a year and robs the nation of jobs and lost tax revenues. According to AGMA, a non-profit organization and the largest group solely focused on IP protection in the high-tech industry, anti-piracy efforts should rely heavily on data.

Working in cooperation with AGMA is high-tech giant, Microsoft®. An AGMA member company, Microsoft is a leading authority on the topic of digital IP protection. Acting as AGMA Advocate for digital IP protection is Anita Phillips, senior solutions manager for Microsoft. In this capacity, Phillips is tasked with providing a greater level of education to the industry, law enforcement, policy makers, and consumers.

It's All in the Data
The conventional tactics deployed to protect physical IP do not translate to the digital realm. "With digital piracy, something can be stolen and yet still be there -- how do you know it has been taken?" Phillips points out. "One of the most powerful ways to identify a digital IP threat is through company/sales data. For example, analyze sales data and compare it to licensing data compared to customer support data. If sales show 100 units sold with 1,000 licenses issued but customer support sees one million users -- you have a big problem on your hands."

Analyzing backend data can also identify patterns and anomalies that can help determine what a customer looks like, as opposed to what a pirate looks like. Additionally, peer-to-peer sites should be routinely monitored -- illegal sharing sites and blogs often provide leads that can be followed up on. From there, how they got in and how much damage was done can be assessed, and proactive steps can be taken to prevent future breeches. Also, rules for who in the organization has access to data, and rules to secure the supply chain must be put in place.

A Double-Edged Threat
A large portion of digital IP protection should be focused on safeguarding consumers and their data. According to the Business Software Alliance, the commercial value of unlicensed PC software installations totaled $62.7 billion globally in 2013. However, that only speaks to the effects on software companies -- what about the consumers that purchased this unlicensed software? From malware that brings harmful viruses to keyloggers that give criminals access to sensitive personal information, the cyber and physical risks posed by piracy cannot be overlooked.

"Brand protection issues can be challenging and complex, and AGMA believes that one of the keys to tackling these issues is the sharing of information," noted AGMA president Sally Nguyen. "The development of our AGMA Advocates program has enabled us to bring a one-on-one, insider's perspective to the issues. With companies like Microsoft that are proactively addressing these issues everyday providing insights, AGMA offers an extremely strong value proposition to member companies."

AGMA employs a number of different tactics in its mission to hinder threats to IP and render these activities more difficult, undesirable and unprofitable. Some of these tactics include event speaking, educational initiatives, benchmark studies, industry guidelines, and public policy advocacy.

About AGMA
AGMA is a non-profit organization comprised of influential companies in the technology sector. Incorporated in 2001, AGMA's mission is to address gray market fraud, parallel imports, counterfeiting, software piracy, and service abuse of technology products around the globe. The organization's goals are to protect intellectual property and authorized distribution channels, improve customer satisfaction and preserve brand integrity.

AGMA welcomes any technology manufacturer, as well as persons or entities that own or hold intellectual property rights to finished goods outside the technology industry; product and service providers; government and law enforcement officials who provide goods and/or services to combat gray market fraud, counterfeiting and warranty and service abuse threats. AGMA uses a variety of avenues to cultivate change in the marketplace, including event speaking, educational initiatives, benchmark studies, industry guidelines, and, where appropriate, public policy advocacy. To learn more about AGMA's initiatives or to become a member, please visit or follow them on Twitter.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Dena Jacobson
    Lages & Associates
    (949) 453-8080
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