Trends In Intellectual Property Loss

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Trends In Intellectual Property Loss – A Private Survey

Intellectual property loss is defined as any theft, misappropriation, or inadvertent disclosure of an organization’s intellectual property or proprietary information, such as copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade dress and trade secrets as well as critical information, information one does want one’s competitor to possess..


Over 65% of those surveyed reported a negative impact to their business as a result of intellectual property loss. The average company responding reported 4 incidents with estimated losses per incident of over $7,500,000. Total potential losses from incidents may exceed $32 billion for all respondents.  Note, this was not a big or broad survey.

Types of IP Losses

The most consistent loss were customer lists/data, financial data, research and development data, strategic plans, unannounced product specifications, and manufacturing data, aka Critical Information – not traditional IP. Technology based companies primarily feared disclosure of proprietary product specifications and financial/insurance/service companies feared the loss of client lists and data.  Critical Information is that information you do not want your competitor to have.


IPCI  losses often heralded by the loss of competitive advantage, loss of market share, loss of revenue, increases in research and development costs, damage to corporate image, increased legal costs. Respondents ranked damage to corporate image and increased legal costs as one their greatest concerns as it impacted on the ability of the companies to trade on their reputation and sell of their products and/or services.

Where is the Threat?

Competitors were the threat and the fear of leakage was from trusted employees as well as sub contractors – who often were never even informed of the proprietary nature of the compromised IPCI. The disclosure or mis-use of proprietary information by current and former employees were the top concerns facing respondents especially when they went to work for another company

According to the ASIS report, the threat of losing intellectual property to OEMs and on-site contractors is confirmed by many of the cases brought under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996. In several of these cases, the indicted individuals were formerly contracted staff members or temporary employees of the victimized company.

In short, external competitors primarily obtaining the information from internal sources, either current or legacy.

The second is a broad based hack and compromise of customer data such as been happening on more or less a regular basis.  With an estimated cost to cure of $215 per person per breech – even  a small scale breech can wipe out a company.

Please visit  to look at and or download records of all of the disclosed breaches…

(Snide comment – So, Big N – how many of these companies possessed one of your SAS-70 certification and / or ISAE 3402s or SSAE 16s hmmmm?)

The focus here is on OPSEC – and learning on how to keep you private and proprietary information – just that.  To do so one needs to use a team of trained professionals to achieve the desired level of data security and privacy.

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