The logistics of trade secrets management are rarely discussed in open forums, and often times their only recognizable manifestations lie buried in the fine print of non-disclosure agreements. But as both private and public sector misappropriations come to light, executives are seeking smarter ways to detect when their proprietary inventions may be at risk.
A Pennsylvania-based solar cell manufacturing partner recently confirmed the stakes of high-tech intellectual property management as a former employee pleaded guilty to stealing product formulas and attempting to transfer them to a Chinese competitor. According to the Associated Press, the defendant presented a fraudulent pending employment contract in an attempt to circumvent non-disclosure agreements after resigning from the American firm. When combined with prior transgressions from his time with a separate company, prosecutors estimate that the defendant is responsible for nearly $23 million worth of stolen intellectual assets.
This particular pattern of international industrial trade secret theft was highlighted earlier in the year by several U.S. government analyses. Yet ironically enough, the saga surrounding former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has revealed domestic, public sector vulnerabilities as well.
According to Corporate Counsel, more organizations are realizing that their intellectual property protection plans need to account for human factors in addition to technical indicators to promote more effective threat identification and prevention.