Updated March 26 at 7:54am

Avtech joins national coalition to stop IP, IT theft


WASHINGTON – Warren-based technology manufacturer Avtech Software Inc. is the latest Rhode Island company to join the National Alliance for Jobs and Innovation, a non-partisan organization designed to increase awareness about stolen intellectual property and the subsequent negative impact on jobs, innovation and economic growth.

NAJI is comprised of more than 100 companies and associations across the United States, including Microsoft and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Other Rhode Island companies that are members of NAJI include: Computer Engineering Service, Microsorb Technologies Inc., North East Knitting Inc., Ocean Wave Energy Co. and Tedco Inc.

“We’ve manufactured in India, Japan and China before, but in the last two years we moved all our production back to the U.S. to maintain a competitive edge,” Michael Sigourney, Avtech CEO, said in prepared remarks. “The possibility of theft of our designs and software overseas was too great. We’re much more efficient and reliable by using U.S. fabrication partners.”

According to a NAJI release, Rhode Island’s manufacturing jobs have declined by 43.4 percent in the past 12 years. “The harmful impact of unfair competition as a result of IP theft could translate into fewer jobs, decreased tax revenues and reduced economic growth for the 40,700 manufacturing employees in Rhode Island,” said the release.

Sigourney said that his company’s intellectual property and information technology are the key to developing Avtech’s innovative product line.

“To the extent IT is being pirated by our competitors, it would definitely hurt us,” said Sigourney. “It’s unfair to steal – all our software is fully licensed.”

In the NAJI release, Brian Raymon, director of technology policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, said that IT theft “takes away from the competitive edge in the marketplace that many businesses in the U.S. use to grow their operations and create jobs.”

According to NAJI, IP-intensive industries account for 27.1 million jobs in the U.S., 18.8 percent of all employment since 2010. The manufacturing sector accounts for 11.7 million jobs, nearly 11 percent of private-sector employment.

The organization added that in 2010 alone, manufacturers in the U.S. spent nearly $95 billion on IT, something it called “a critical component of research and development, and production.”

“A global piracy reduction by 10 percent in four years 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,” said the organization’s release.


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