If you’re a business owner, then you know how important it is to protect your company’s intellectual property. The United States economy loses $225 billion each year on account of IP theft, making it a very real problem that you can’t ignore.
Understanding IP theft will help you know how to limit the risk of it happening, as well as respond appropriately if it does.
But what is intellectual property theft, and how can you prevent it? Keep reading for a guide that will break it all down for you.
What Is Intellectual Property Theft?
Intellectual property includes everything from trademarks and trade secrets, to copyrights and patents. Intellectual property theft occurs anytime a person or group of people steal one or more of these assets.
When you listen to the news, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that IP theft is something that only happens to large, multinational companies. The reality is that companies all of sizes can fall victim to it.
In fact, some studies have shown that small businesses are more vulnerable to IP theft than larger companies, often because they don’t have teams of trained professionals working to secure everything. These cases don’t often receive as much attention or coverage.
Intellectual Property Theft Examples
More than half of all IP theft happens on account of human error. This can happen when someone loses their phone, accidentally sends trade secrets to people outside of the company, or fails to adhere to a policy of confidentiality.
Malware is another huge cause of IP theft. Certain malicious programs allow hackers to bypass security systems and gain access to your devices. This allows them to then steal enormous amounts of data, IP, and other confidential information.
Another common type of intellectual property theft is when someone abuses the privilege and access they have for personal benefit. For example, if someone from Company A steals IP then sells it to Company B. This is a form of economic espionage.
Intellectual Property Theft Prevention
Most companies across the world don’t do enough to protect themselves against the different forms of IP theft.
Make sure that you train your employees on IP theft prevention. You should all be on the same page when it comes to data protection. It’s also a good idea to conduct asset inventory from time to time.
You should also train your employees to delete and shred any revealing pieces of data after you’re done with them. This keeps them from falling into hackers’ hands if there is a digital break-in. Learn more here about how to delete old files forever.
Stay Protected and Vigilant
As any business owner knows, intellectual property plays a huge role in the growth and expansion of your company. What is intellectual property theft? It’s something that can devastate your business if you aren’t careful, which is why it’s so important to take the necessary precautionary steps.
Do you now have a better understanding of what intellectual property theft includes? If you do, make sure to check out some of our other blog posts for more business guides and tips.