How safe is your intellectual property from theft?

The following is a guest post by Lilian Sohn.

Copyright symbolMost companies don’t give this topic the required attention. Start-up entrepreneurs and successful business leaders are often too caught up in their day-to-day tasks to take a step back and look at important, strategic decisions that could prove vital for their company, such as ways to figure out how to truly secure their businesses’ intellectual property.

In a recently published article, the Economist has stated that many businesses actually prefer to not register a patent or copyright because in this case, the invention’s core clue would need to be published. This opens up a delicate discussion – when to patent a product, and when better throw a veil of secrecy over it? And can we definitely be sure that it is actually kept a secret?

Companies such as Google are investing enormous resources to protect their patented search algorithm, hire intellectual property lawyers and only allow access to confidential documents to a restricted number of trustworthy employees that need to contribute to future developments. With this sensitive information being at the heart of many companies’ success, also large and famous corporations are continuously facing head-spinning fines when infringing copyright law. Just to name the 450.5 million dollar fine Samsung faced for “slavishly copying” Apple’s devices or today’s announced verdict in the Cisco case where the producer of networking equipment has been fined to $70 million, partly for having infringed two patents of XpertUniverse Inc.

But what can small and medium sized enterprises do to protect their core business? Investigators on intellectual property fraud, such as Conflict International, suggest the key elements to keep confidential documents safe are to restrict them from being emailed or printed in the first place; security software systems can also prevent screenshots from being taken, email tracking is crucial, desktop sharing should be restricted. In any case, non-disclosure agreements should always be signed with employees, client lists, contacts, quotes, contracts and any sensitive information related to R&D should be stored locally, if possible not even on the company network. Many businesses today already prefer working on confidential documents only from stand-alone computers with strictly no internet access.

Given the rising cyber-thefts in the last few years with hackers carrying out extremely targeted and sophisticated attacks to steal business sensitive information, these concerns are not unjustified: just recently, the US government has demanded China to block the widespread cyberattacks and agree to “acceptable norms of behaviour in cyberspace.”

Lilian SohnLilian is a passionate digital marketer creating multilingual online marketing campaigns for clients in the UK, Italy and Germany.

She has worked for large multinational IT companies, giving her an insight into business process management, team building and HR practices in larger corporations.

Currently Lilian is studying with the Chartered Institute of Marketing and providing SEO services for companies in the healthcare, fashion and other industries. Lilian lives in Parma, Italy.

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Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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