Threat of intellectual property theft growing rapidly

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Over two-thirds of manufacturers fear the threat to their product intellectual property (IP) has grown over the past two years, new research has found.

According to the poll conducted by Aberdeen Group, almost 25 percent of respondents say the threat has jumped "significantly" - as they develop, manufacture, and sell products globally. This findings confirm 2005 Aberdeen benchmarks in which manufacturers reported protecting product IP as the top challenge of global design.

The new study, 'The Protecting Product Intellectual Property Benchmark Report: Safeguarding Design IP in a Global Market', explains how common approaches to global design and manufacturing, including using unsecured emails and documents, increase IP risk.

"Among companies benchmarked, 48 percent report lost market share, 44 percent lost sales, 30 percent product commoditisation, and 27 per cent lower margins because of compromised product IP," said Jim Brown, Aberdeen vice president, Product Innovation and Engineering, and report author.

"In response, over two thirds are actively pursuing improved product IP protection, with almost one third viewing this as a top-five business priority. "

Respondent companies that were indentified as being best in class at protecting product IP were five times more likely to report significant gains in IP protection over the last two years than the poorest performers. These leaders have developed multi-faceted IP protection strategies that include IP-friendly collaboration, documenting IP discovery, legal protection, and enhanced data security.

These best in class companies were also found to support these strategies by key technologies, including general IT security, document rights management, product data management, design collaboration, design translation/degradation, intellectual asset management, document management, business process management, and electronic R&D notebooks.

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