The need to protect IP.

Author:Modic, Elizabeth Engler
Position:Figuring it out - Office of the United States Trade Representative . - The Federal Aviation Administration . - United States Customs and Border Protection

According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), intellectual property thefts cost U.S. companies about $300 billion each year.

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that 2 percent of the 26 million airplane parts installed each year are counterfeit. That's right --520,000 parts.

The United States Customs and Border Protection estimates that 750,000 American jobs have been lost because of counterfeiting. The U.S Federal Trade Commission found that the auto industry could hire 250,000 additional workers if the sale of counterfeit auto parts was eliminated.

How then, you might ask, do you compete globally without having your intellectual property (IP) stolen and counterfeited?

One way is to keep your manufacturing in America. Well, easier said than done, you might respond, since your competitor is moving manufacturing overseas because prices are lower. You need to compete globally, so you need to shift some production too. But there are real costs associated with moving overseas, and real threats that need consideration.

Is the cost really cheaper when you have to work much harder at protecting your IP when encountering hurdles such as additional patents in foreign countries; the legal costs to bring a claim in a foreign market if your product or process is stolen, and, finally, the possibility that once your IP is stolen, it's usually impossible to get it back in full.

IP globally

Aberdeen Group published a report titled The Protecting Product Intellectual Property Benchmark Report." Safeguarding Design 1P in a Global Market, which recommends that companies should evaluate their product innovation, product development, and engineering processes to ensure that they effectively:

* Adopt "IP friendly" approaches to collaboration, including sharing only the amount of design data required by partners to accomplish their tasks;

* Ensure that R&D discoveries are captured, evaluated from a business perspective, and safeguarded by executing appropriate protection (i.e., patents, trademarks, etc.); and

* Protect product data, including implementing secure product data management (PDM) and enhanced IT security solutions to safeguard product data within the firewall and digital rights management (DRM) to...

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