Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed a lawsuit on Thursday against a Chinese oil equipment supplier for selling equipment in Oklahoma at artificially low prices. Pruitt says the company gained an unfair competitive advantage over lawfully licensed Oklahoma companies in violation of the state's antitrust laws.
According to officials, the lawsuit is the first of its kind filed in Oklahoma, and one of the first lawsuits in the nation filed by an attorney general to stop business-related piracy.
The complaint, filed in Oklahoma County District Court, claims Chinese manufacturer Neway Valve Company stole manufacturing process related software that is used by several Oklahoma companies, including longtime oil equipment company, Kimray.
The lawsuit alleges that the Chinese company then used the pirated technology to sell its competing equipment in Oklahoma at a lower price.
The lawsuit seeks penalties and an injunction against Neway for creating an unfair market and violating Oklahoma's Antitrust Reform Act and Oklahoma common law, according to the AG's office.
"Law-abiding companies invest significant capital to license software to operate their businesses and serve their customers," said Pruitt. "The use of stolen software and other intellectual property by unscrupulous companies is unfair, unlawful and gives them an advantage over those companies who follow the law."
Oklahoma manufacturing companies affected by software theft include Cameron, Balon Corporation, CIRCOR, and Kimray Inc., which collectively employ several thousand employees.
Oklahoma companies lost an estimated $3 billion in revenue between 2002 and 2012 due to global companies using pirated American software, according to a report by the Harvard Business School and National Association of Manufacturers.