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AGMA Annual Member Conference Gathers High-Tech Leaders

Effective Channel Partner Contract Terms, Service and Warranty Abuse Addressed; New President and Board Members Appointed (March 27, 2012)

LOS GATOS, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/27/12 -- AGMA, a non-profit organization and the largest group solely focused on intellectual property (IP) protection in the high-tech industry, recently held their annual member forum. The event offers a venue for the organization's membership to collaborate, share best practices and explore the critical intellectual property protection issues specific to gray market fraud, counterfeiting, warranty and service abuse and digital IP in the high-tech industry. Hosted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) at the company's San Jose offices, the AGMA conference featured presentations, panel session and open forums.

In addition to the IP protection challenges addressed at the meeting, AGMA announced the election of its new president, Peter Hlavnicka, a long-time AGMA board member and treasurer, and Dolby Laboratories' director of IP protection. AGMA is an equal opportunity organization with a compulsory rotation of the directorship among all eligible members, and several new members -- Oracle's Todd Stern and Avaya's Brian Hayward -- have been appointed to the Board of Directors.

According to Hlavnicka, "As an organization, AGMA's role is to educate the high-tech industry and further establish itself as the go-to resource for best practices in IP protection. AGMA continues to evolve and expand awareness in the industry about the dangers of gray market fraud, counterfeiting, warranty and service abuse and digital IP issues. By fostering the exchange of best practices and successes among members, we are able to garner insights and ideas that can help members, and the industry as a whole, to make a difference."

PwC's Jonathan Kurtz served as moderator for an interactive panel discussion on the importance of channel partner contract compliance terms. This panel was designed to discuss the importance of and requirements for these terms, and gave specific examples of what some of the leading practices among high-tech companies are -- while pointing to the enforcement of these terms as the key to successful IP protection. Panel members Chris LaChapelle (QLogic), Jim Vanlandingham (Hitachi GST), and Kim Wiatrak (PwC) noted that, while most companies include effective terms in their contracts, usefulness varies due to the actual enforcement of the terms. Follow up surveys and interviews will be conducted as AGMA and PwC continue to research this subject, with the goal of publishing a joint whitepaper on thought leadership for effective channel partner contract terms.

Warranty and service abuse remains a growing industry problem that imposes a significant financial drain on companies. Looking to develop a program that supports recent actions taken by the industry to reduce warranty fraud and service abuse, AGMA member Angela Narvaez of HP is co-chairing an AGMA/CompTia initiative focused on the subject with CompTia's Aaron Woods (Xerox) and Sandy Ashworth (Unysis). The goal of the initiative is to develop a common industry voice that will result in the following benefits: reduce loss due to warranty fraud and service abuse; increase collaboration between OEMs and partners; increase attention to warranty fraud and service abuse; and enhance customer experience.

Other presenters included Jeanette L. Chu, director, forensic services, advisory practice for PwC, who discussed the importance of understanding unique cultural and business challenges, or as Chu put it: "being China smart," when doing business in China. She also reviewed important steps in building effective trade compliance as part of the overall corporate compliance.

AGMA's next quarterly meeting will be hosted by Sideman & Bancroft on April 18-19 in Northern Calif. To learn more about AGMA or to become a member, please visit

About AGMA
AGMA is a non-profit organization comprised of influential companies in the technology sector. Incorporated in 2001, AGMA's mission is to address gray market fraud, parallel imports, counterfeiting, software piracy, and service abuse of technology products around the globe. The organization's goals are to protect intellectual property and authorized distribution channels, improve customer satisfaction and preserve brand integrity.

AGMA welcomes any technology manufacturer, as well as persons or entities that own or hold intellectual property rights to finished goods outside the technology industry; product and service providers; government and law enforcement officials who provide goods and/or services to combat gray market fraud, counterfeiting and warranty and service abuse threats. AGMA uses a variety of avenues to cultivate change in the marketplace, including event speaking, educational initiatives, benchmark studies, industry guidelines, and, where appropriate, public policy advocacy. To learn more about AGMA's initiatives or to become a member, please visit or follow them on Facebook.

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