We recently had a conversation with a Vermont manufacturer regarding the security of his customers’ information while it was in his facility. His unfamiliarity with the concept of Intellectual Property has prompted us to prepare this information.
When you hear the term Intellectual Property (IP), do you think it only pertains to something well known –like the recipe for Coca Cola or the trademark swoosh for Nike? Those are two well-known aspects of IP, the recipe is a trade secret and the logo is a trademark. It is important for manufacturers to know about another key aspect of IP called Industrial Design, which includes any two- or three-dimensional pattern used to manufacture a part for a larger item or an entire piece to be sold. These patterns may be created by your company or, if you are a contract manufacturer, they constitute IP that belongs to your client.
How secure is the IP within your company? Do you have safeguards in place to protect your own or your client’s information while it is under your roof?
Industrial espionage affects all kinds of industries, including those that manufacture parts for aerospace applications, machine tools, coatings and other technology-heavy products. Threats can come from within (employees, computers, internet intrusion) or from without (a break-in or an off-site analysis of the waste your company produces). According to a recent report by the Commission on the Theft of Intellectual Property, annual losses from IP thefts top $300 billion and have the chilling result of keeping jobs from being added to the U.S. economy.