Simply copying or Intellectual Property theft?

CopyrI would be delighted to encourage a debate, awareness & sharing of cases of “unethical behavior” & “Intellectual property theft” in our industry. I might be too honest and somewhat naïve in today’s world – but I do believe in ethics, honor and respect in what I’m doing for a living. A former SITE president once told me “Unethical behavior should / will always be punished”.

However – internally you constantly have to share, innovate and market your new ideas to become a leader of new ideas and frontier solutions. Question is – how to protect and share your intellectual property? Where and how to set out limits of what’s wrong and right? Below some of my company’s issues that I believe talks for itself…

Being an entrepreneur/DMC on the Russian market for 20 years with creativity, innovations and technology as a base – we have seen it all. Old colleagues leaving with our client database (4 occasions), interfering during site inspections & actual program operations – trying to snatch business, undercutting rates of offers known & available prior to their departure, copying programs and posting on their own website (forgetting to leave out our company name..), copying layout of websites, listing our PowerPoint presentations with changed logotypes, transforming published ideas – into printed books, marketing our ideas/ new projects as own a week after published on our website, spreading negative gossips & obtaining same supplier conditions within their new established company (based on reputation of the former) etc … A web research I made some years ago of the complete paragraph on our “Service & Quality Guarantees” resulted in a hit for 5 local competitors with identical text – word by word …

Last week was the final drop … all our visions, compleate set of feutures and functionalities and layouts of our commercial single-inventory back-office system (sold with copyright) is now availlable the industry under a different name with slightly changed layout but with the majortiy of functions intact. … Some days later an ex-colleague announcing world breaking news of an identical quotation layout and format with links (used by us for 7 years  – at least text and pictures changed) – how creative… Following a mailing the next day an old client with a past successful program operated by a former employee many years ago suddenly complained about overcharging. Probably just another coincident…!

1qte 2 qte

2 versions of our layout (only text & pictures is different)….

We are all joining International organizations as a proof of our professionalism (like MPI, SITE, ADMEI, ICCA etc.) which also includes honoring ethical conduct – so how to avoid the misuse of ethic behavior amongst the membership? I encourage and challenge you all in a debate in this issue and as well to open this subject publicly in meetings, forums and social media to discuss examples in professional organizations. I am sure we all lost business as course of unethical behavior based on “approved competitors” but without pointing fingers of misconduct.

At least – let people doing wrong being silently embarrassed for what they have done – maybe even being afraid of doing it again….

Ola Kastensson


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