Intellectual property theft aka IP theft is an easy type of crime to commit and yet it can devastate businesses and have tremendous economic impact. Theft of intellectual property in the US adds up to as much as $540 billion in losses annually. Although IP theft often makes the news related to global enterprises, small and mid-sized businesses are equally vulnerable, if not more so. Zachary Hiller is an attorney in Houston, Texas, specializing in helping companies and individuals protect their intellectual property from theft. Read on for answers to the questions what is intellectual property theft and how to prevent intellectual property theft.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

What is Intellectual Property Theft?

Victims of IP theft have been purposefully or inadvertently robbed of their original inventions, ideas, or creative expressions. Common types of intellectual property theft are infringements of a trademark, copyright, patent, or trade secret. Proprietary information and sensitive data can be sold in a global market in which competitors seek to gain a competitive edge.

There are many different forms of intellectual property theft. Insider IP theft is an example, and it is a highly misunderstood type of theft of intellectual property. For example, insiders don’t usually commit intellectual property theft in order to sell the information. Instead, they seek to gain an advantage over competitors in their industry.

Another common motivation is dissatisfaction, a scenario in which disgruntled workers have developed disloyalty against their employer. This and other forms of IP theft are challenging because machines that protect against cyber-attacks are unable to detect the negative emotions of insiders. This vulnerability extends to third-party vendors.

How to Prevent Intellectual Property Theft

It is essential to take steps for the protection of your intellectual property. The following are two among numerous ways to help prevent intellectual property theft. A qualified IP attorney is the best person to help you find the strategy that works best for your company.

Employee Contracts and Activities

A basic first step is to have all employees sign an IP agreement, and it should include verifying that the employee is not introducing any IP from previous employers or other connections. Advise employees when onboarded that all activities on work networks and computers are monitored. Train employees regularly on security routines. Additional precautions include a review of an outgoing employee’s online movements one month prior to giving notice of their resignation as well as a month afterward.

Clearly Communicate Assets

You may one day seek to know how to sue for intellectual property theft, and you should prepare ahead for that possibility. Label any intellectual property so that in a court of law, you can prove that the information was clearly marked as protected and confidential.

Identify Potential Gaps in Security

Because theft of intellectual property can be as easy as it is lucrative, be aware that there are numerous ways in which IP can be stolen. For example, an IP thief could access your information through your phone contacts, conference room phones, recycling bins, careless employees, and physical entry points into the building.

If you have valuable intellectual property, hiring an IP lawyer like Zachary Hiller is essential. Zachary Hiller has the experience and know-how to help you build strong defenses against intellectual property theft. You are far less likely to seek answers on suing for IP theft if Zachary Hiller advises you on how to prevent intellectual property theft from happening in the first place. For your free consultation, contact Zachary Hiller today.

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