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Intellectual Property Theft

Safeguarding value. Reducing risk.

Intellectual property is like hard currency in many industries. Protecting it is critical, particularly in China where intellectual property abuses are rife. Yet many companies lack a clear understanding of exactly what their intellectual property is - and more to the point, what it’s worth.

First things

  • Take stock of your intellectual property across the enterprise and by business line. Define it, catalogue it and keep your inventory current.
  • Assess the value of your   intellectual property. Document your valuations completely.
  • Don’t go overboard protecting everything. Some intellectual property is not worth the cost of tight control - while other intellectual property can make or break your company. You have to know which is which.
 

Essential capabilities

Managing the threat of intellectual property loss requires a 360 - degree approach by a team with competencies in several specialised areas. Between your in-house resources and your outside advisors, make sure you have each of these capabilities covered:

  • intellectual property licensing;
  • strategic alliance structuring;
  • counterfeit and grey market tracking;
  • due diligence;
  • patents, copyrights;
  • trademarks and trade secrets;
  • intellectual property valuation; and
  • royalty and revenue recovery.

Intellectual property is like real property - just harder to track

Intellectual property is an intangible product that has commercial value. The value of intellectual property is the amount of money someone would spend to create what he could steal from you instead. In some industries, that value is measured in billions of dollars.

Examples of intellectual property include:

  • customer lists;
  • industrial designs;
  • permits, mineral rights, licenses;
  • environmental studies;
  • agreements and contracts;
  • patents, know-how, trade secrets;
  • trademarks and brands;
  • business processes; and
  • product pricing models.

Many companies focus only on the threat of their own intellectual property being stolen. But that cuts both ways. For example, sometimes companies accidentally find themselves in possession of intellectual property that belongs to others - knowledge and trade secrets of competitors that come into your business with new personnel. When you’re thinking about risks related to intellectual property, don’t overlook your exposure because of this kind of infiltration.

 

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