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International Jurisdiction

The Web can link computers from many countries with no regard for national or international boundaries. Advancements in telecommunications have allowed information to be shared worldwide. This sharing creates problems because of different intellectual property laws.
For example, users in the U.S. can access information in other sovereign countries that, if obtained in the U.S., would violate intellectual property rights. These foreign sites often provide the same information at a lower price, so the U.S. user would naturally be attracted to them.

Hackers

There are a few well-known cases about crackers breaking into commercial and government computers. Because the crackers were working from Europe, U.S. authorities could monitor their activities, but could not apprehend them because their jurisdiction did not extend into Europe.
Eventually, the crackers were apprehended in their home countries (with cooperation from U.S. authorities), and stood trial on the grounds of conducting unwarranted and malicious espionage on foreign soil.

Non-U.S. Patents

Patents are, of course, available in other countries as well as in the United States. For example, one may apply for and obtain a patent in almost any country in the world. One may file a first application almost anywhere in the world, follow up with applications in other countries within 1 year of filing the first application, and obtain the first application’s filing date as a priority date. Besides filing in individual countries, there are several regional areas in which applications can be made. These include the European Patent Convention (EPC; http:// www.epo.org); the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI; http://www.oapi.wipo.net), the members of which are French-speaking African countries; the African Regional Industrial Property Organization (ARIPO; http:// www.aripo.wipo.net), the members of which are Englishspeaking African countries; and the Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO), the members of which include former republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (http://www.eapo.org).