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In Mexico, legal software must be part of corporate export strategies to the United States

Kiyoshi Tsuru

Skyline of Mexico City's upscale Santa Fe neighborhood. Mexico City is an important center of business.
© Anthony Wright, 2011
Skyline of Mexico City's upscale Santa Fe neighborhood © Anthony Wright, 2011

The US is an important market for the Mexican manufacturer. However, when planning to export goods, cultural differences cam come into play, and it is crucial to understand them.

A fish export company in Massachusetts was fined US $10,000 for infringing laws on software copyright protection, a matter of particular interest to Mexican companies that sell products to the United States.

This is the first fine applied under the new regulations on unfair competition in the Unites States that believes that companies that use IT illegally have an advantage over local trade.

Mexico's export activities fall on a little over 35,000 companies in the country, 80 percent of which do business with the United States, and all companies, big and small, should understand the implications of these new trends in unfair competition, which now seem to be the rule to ensure adequate international trade.

Considering that Mexico has a 57 percent software piracy rate, will Mexican companies doing business in the United States be fully prepared to comply with the legality of their computer assets?

Unfortunately in Mexico, IT management is still a gray area for many businesses. According to surveys conducted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the discretionary use of illegal software by CEOs and CIOs in Mexican companies prevails, as they actually validate illegal practices on software management. The most common issue prevailing among companies includes errors and failure to license original computer programs.

Planning is the first recommendation made to companies that want to access foreign markets. ProMéxico recommends planning to recognize opportunities, risks and threats to export activities, and says that in order to develop an export strategy; companies should place a top priority on acknowledging the international environment while it lists technological events as part of these criteria.

In order to trade with the United States under the regulations governing unfair competition, it is important to note that strategic planning for exports should include the review, update and legalization of corporate software inventories.

Among other things, ProMéxico believes that employers in the global environment must be recognized in the global, national and business scenarios, which leads to three basic questions about the stance companies hold with regard to management of their IT assets:

  • Does my company comply with legality parameters on the use of IT established by unfair trade laws?
  • Does my company respond to software legalization programs in Mexico?
  • Are my company's IT inventories up-to-date?

The answers to these questions can become the guiding principles to set policy and plans with regard to the management of a company's IT assets in order to comply with all of the demands local rules impose on unfair trade.

The Unfair Competition Law of the State of Washington was enacted in July 2011, followed by similar legislation in Louisiana while another bill to pass a similar law is pending in Missouri. The Attorneys General in 37 other U.S. states have expressed their support in this regard, including the state of Massachusetts.

It is very important that companies in Mexico that sell their products to the United States now start working on measures that provide legal certainty on their software tools to guarantee their export strategies.

 

 

Published or Updated on: December 8, 2012 by Kiyoshi Tsuru © 2012
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