When people think of property, images conjured usually include physical things like land, houses, cars, or even small items such as toys or simple tools. If someone tries to wrongfully take these types of things from you, you would rightfully accuse them of trying to steal your property, wouldn’t you.
What people generally don’t associate with theft are items produced by the mind. It might sound strange at first, but creations of the mind can be just as valuable, if not more so, than items with a physical shape.
Physical and intellectual theft
Think about it. The latest iPhone, for example, is certainly a physical thing. If someone stole your iPhone from a pocket or purse, you’d certainly call it theft, wouldn’t you. However, what if a corporation stole the ideas that went into the production of that iPhone, such as its external design, its software features, or engineered capabilities?
In fact, all these creations of the mind, so to speak, are considered what is called intellectual property. Stealing intellectual property can be worth millions of dollars, if not billions, and is just as illegal as stealing physical goods.
The challenge of protecting intellectual property has become one of global importance, given the rise of globalization and the erasing of international borders. International property theft is a threat to businesses in Canada when counterfeit goods are shipped here, as well as Canadian companies doing business overseas and having their ideas stolen abroad.
On the Canadian frontlines
Indeed, the Canadian government has what is called the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, which offers services to Canadian businesses to protect intellectual property. Similarly, on the international scene, there is the World Intellectual Property Organization, which similarly helps international businesses protect their intellectual property rights, too.
The most recent chapter in this global fight to protect intellectual property is being written here in Canada. The Combatting Counterfeit Products Act has come into effect. It provides Canadian border officials with greater powers to seize suspected counterfeit goods as they come into the country. The law also allows companies that suspect their goods of being counterfeited to make requests to direct the efforts of these same Canadian border officials.
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