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IP Theft Protection against Internal and External Threats

Did you know that almost 70 percent of the world’s intellectual property is within the United States?
This is due to the fact that the majority of US-based companies are dedicated to extensive research and development. Although companies in the US place a lot of emphasis on their intellectual property, recent studies conducted by the American Society of Industry Security (ASIS) revealed that one-third of their companies do not have any formal program for protection against IP theft. The ASIS estimated that over $150 billion is lost per year due to the escalation of the regularity and intensity of IP theft. The fact that our world is so technologically advanced means that if the right steps are not taken to protect IP, sensitive information can be shared globally within a matter of minutes. It is therefore of utter importance that companies take the necessary steps and precautions to protect and safeguard IP.


Internal Protection against IP Theft

Most companies aim at protecting their IP against external threat, overlooking the fact that protection against IP theft should first and foremost start from within. Most companies overlook the human element. The fact is that anyone who has physical or electronic access to sensitive information relating to a company’s intellectual property can easily engage in IP theft. Humans within organizations can be directly responsible for IP theft because they are ignorant and careless so they do not always comprehend the consequences of their actions. They also disregard security which increases the risk of IP theft while some of them are just malicious and engage in IP theft for their own financial gain. 

The following guidelines can be implemented internally to protect IP against internal threats.

If an employee resigns or is fired, access privileges should be immediately disabled. 

Employees should be made aware that their use of network resource will be audited and monitored so that they will be afraid of doing that which they are not authorized to do.

Portable computing devices that may contain sensitive information should be tracked to make sure that they are not in the possession of unauthorized employees.

Access to IP related information should only be given to those that need it for their specific job function. Those that do not need access to such information should not be given access to it.

Employees should have their own account to access network resources and sensitive information. Many companies allow multiple employees to share one account so if something does happen, it is often difficult to trace which employee is responsible.

External Protection against IP Theft

The best way to protect your IP against external threats is to obtain patent & tradmark protection. Some people confuse patents with trademarks. Although they have some similarities, they are not the same. A trademark generally refers to the protection of a name or a symbol that is use to distinguish a product from others. Trademarks prevent others from using your name, symbol or mark but they do not prevent others from making or selling the same products that you make or sell. Patents on the other hand are used to protect inventions. In most countries, they are granted for 20 years and grant the right to exclude others from making, using and selling your invention without your permission.

As mentioned earlier, approximately seventy percent of the world intellectual property is in the United States and as a result, the US has become a main authority in the world-wide protection of IP. For example, the US recently placed India on its “International Piracy Watch List”. Apart from india watchlist, the other three countries to watch according to the US are: Russia, Switzerland and China. This is simply due to the fact that these countries including India have had continuing problems protecting IP. The implementation of the Watch List shows the enormous economic importance that the US has placed behind IP and the fact that a part of protecting IP means protecting the jobs of those behind the creation of IP.

How to deal with IP Theft

So what do you do if your IP has been stolen? Here are three simple steps that you can follow to deal with IP theft.


Identify the infringement

Obtain as much information as you can about who stole your IP, how it was stolen and what is being done with it.



Determine the damage

Determine the financial damage caused by the infringement and whether or not it is worth pursuing the theft.


Hiring an attorney

If the financial damage is worth pursuing, you will definitely need an attorney to legally pursue the theft. 












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"I had already had a bad experience when my first webcomic got stolen and someone else took credit for it. It was the worst. Now I have learnt my lesson. Equity Network has protected my work ever since and never again anything like that happened."
Ernest J. Connor


"I always knew how important patents were, but I was just too lazy to do all the boring and innecesarily complicated paperwork. Now I let Equity Networks handle all that. It’s just way easier."
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