Intellectual property theft is serious business, and it can cause serious harm. The hacking attack on Sony got a lot of headlines, but what was lost in the story is how such security breaches can affect even smaller companies around the world – and go completely undetected.
While the high-profile Sony case occurred largely in retribution for its production of its North Korea political-comedy “The Interview,” most other cases of intellectual property theft happen for a different reason: pure greed.
First, let’s define intellectual property (IP). According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), IP refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
“IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.” - WIPO
IP can be a business’s most valuable asset. So when outside parties threaten to steal your ideas, copy your products or disrupt your marketing channels, corrective action on your part can become tedious, time-consuming and expensive. To be proactive, your first step should be to call in experts who can assess your risk, and also help you evaluate whether your company is, or has been, a victim of IP theft.
Potential IP infringement to watch for:
· Trade secret breaches
· Data breaches & IP leaks
· Theft of proprietary customer data
· Copyright abuse
· Unauthorized use of trademarks
· Counterfeit & pirated products
· Threats to brand integrity & reputation
· Brand imitation & product copying
· Global counterfeiting investigations
As you can see, the threat can take many forms. At CRI Group, our experts have seen them all. Don’t be complacent when it comes to protecting your company’s IP. It is valuable, and it just might be irreplaceable.