The creation of the human mind, usually expressed in some tangible form or with some rights attached, is known as intellectual property. Intellectual property includes copyright for a book or article, a unique logo design, or a patent. The law of intellectual property pertains to the protection of trademarks, patents, and copyrights, among other areas. A company’s intellectual property valuation is not tied to its physical value like size or structure. Instead, intellectual property represents ownership and an exclusive right to use, manufacture, reproduce, or promote an idea or invention. In this respect, it can be viewed as one of the most valuable assets that a person or a company can possess.
Intellectual property types:
Intellectual property includes many kinds, and most are intangible. It instead consists of rights governing ownership, use, and sale of items created by a person’s intellect or creativity. Although intellectual property rights protect them, intellectual property theft can happen. Here are some intellectual property types:
A copyrighted item is a work of literary art, rendered in a tangible medium. For example, there could be writings, poems, photographs, paintings, software, and books.
There are very few things that one can trademark. Generally, only words, symbols, phrases, or designs that identify a brand are trademarks.
An invention can obtain a patent if it is new. There are three types of patents: design, utility, and plant.
- Trade Secrets:
The standard definition of a trade secret is any piece of information that is valuable to a business but is not publicly available. It is confidential to maintain its economic value.
Intellectual Property Theft:
Intellectual property theft refers to the unauthorized use of ideas, inventions, or creative expressions by individuals or companies. It includes all kinds of trade secrets, proprietary products, or parts of artistic creations, like computer software, movies, music, etc.
Companies lose billions in revenue a year from intellectual property theft. And the government loses jobs and tax revenue. Theft is a big problem offshore, where laws often aren’t as good, and enforcement is difficult. It is a growing threat as of late due to Internet file-sharing networks and digital technologies. The FBI’s criminal investigation program places a high priority on protecting intellectual property. A particular focus is the theft of trade secrets and infringement on products that could affect consumers’ health and safety, such as counterfeit aircraft, cars, and electronics. A crucial aspect of the program’s success is the connection of private sector resources and efforts with law enforcement partners at all levels, including local, state, and federal.
Typical Intellectual Property Theft Scenarios:
IP theft can lead to severe economic damage, competitive edge loss, and decreased business growth. Companies of all sizes and industries are susceptible to IP theft. The media usually focuses on instances of IP theft affecting large, global corporations. While IP theft affecting smaller companies tends to be less reported. So it’s essential to know how to protect critical assets and the long-term viability of your business. Some of the most common IP theft scenarios are:
- Human Error: When a well-meaning employee loses a laptop/device with company data on it, he sends confidential stuff out of the office. IP theft can easily and quickly occur if a company shares confidential data with unauthorized parties.
- Hacking: Malicious actors can steal large volumes of IP addresses when they use spear-phishing techniques to penetrate company networks. They can also steal sensitive corporate and technical information. Hackers also target managed service providers of these companies as well as their customers.
- Access Exploitation: Disgruntled employees can misuse their access to sensitive files to steal trade secrets and sell them to competitors or criminals.
What are the signs of intellectual theft?
Intellectual property theft is when someone knowingly uses, misappropriates, steals, or takes property, protected by intellectual property valuation laws. The intellectual property used without the owner’s consent counts as IP theft. It would be considered intellectual property theft, for instance, if someone attempted to copy the logo of another company and knew that it belonged to someone else. IP theft can also occur in the restaurant industry, where an employee steals a secret recipe for a popular food item from the menu and uses it to make their own.