Protecting intellectual property from theft can be a highly complicated task. Businesses may have extensive, sophisticated measures in place to lock IP down. They may routinely monitor competitors for instances of misuse. Some companies have employees sign confidentiality agreements.
As effective as these efforts may be, there may still be vulnerabilities that nefarious parties take advantage of. For instance, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently announced that universities across the United States have been the targets of IP theft.
Schools getting schooled on safety protocols
The FBI notes that universities, including the University of Minnesota, are particularly vulnerable to these efforts because of the frequency with which they welcome international researchers and educators. Additionally, colleges and universities are known hubs of innovation and research.
Chinese researchers, in particular, have reportedly been involved in IP theft. Reports note that Chinese company Huawei is one known security threat. The FBI is again warning academic institutions across the country to be especially alert regarding theft efforts on behalf of China and companies like Huawei.
How could this affect other industries?
You do not need to be a university to be a target for IP theft by international parties. Businesses from emerging companies with novel designs to massive corporations with vast resources could be targets of IP theft if they have a valuable product.
Therefore, what any business owner can take away from the FBI’s alert to universities is the importance of closely monitoring who has access to protected material. If you routinely work with international parties or visiting professionals, you should prioritize your security efforts.
This could involve basic measures like password-protecting sensitive material and logging access points and credentials to far more sophisticated measures of securing data. These efforts can make it more difficult for someone to gain improper access and read, copy or distribute specific content anonymously.
Companies often focus on protecting IP from theft by employees or other inside parties. While this is undoubtedly important, it is just as vital to protect IP from outside parties, as well. This also includes protection in the global marketplace. With proper protection and legal measures in place, businesses can shield their valuable IP from misuse and theft.