While the threat of intellectual property theft should be on the radar of any business executive, companies operating as government contractors must be aware that they are particularly attractive targets.
The perceived value of a firm's intellectual assets is often magnified upon entering government partnerships. In an increasingly globalized society, public sector officials are always on the lookout for patents that can fuel the engine of innovation and increase international prestige.
This notion was reflected earlier in the week as Reuters reported on an ongoing IP debate between China and the United States that could impact the global energy market. American Superconductor, a prominent government technology supplier, has accused a former Chinese business partner of stealing proprietary software used to construct wind turbines.
"What's at stake here is not just the interest of the two companies, but who is going to become the big supplier in the renewable energy market," explained Santa Clara University School of Law professor Colleen Chien. "It has broader implications even for energy security."
Such concerns are not limited the large corporations either. According to InformationWeek, IP protection is now emerging on the agendas of small business IT executives for the first time in many cases. With that in mind, experts encourage any and all government contractors to conduct thorough audits and discover what valuable targets may be in their possession.