Whether it’s committed by a U.S. entity or a foreign company, intellectual property theft is a serious issue that has led to the loss of millions of American jobs each year, and drains billions from our economy. The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property says the theft of trade secrets must be treated as seriously as terrorism and drug trafficking.
A recent advisory panel by the commission disclosed that trade secret theft from China alone costs the U.S. $300 billion annually. While traditional methods of theft continue to be a problem, hacking and stealing intellectual property is growing–especially in China, India, and Russia. China alone accounts for 50 to 80 percent of intellectual property theft from the U.S.
The panel had some ideas to curb the theft of trade secrets, such as confiscating goods containing stolen intellectual property, and implementing protections to make it more difficult to hack our technology. They also suggested severe punishments against IP thieves that could have a devastating effect on dishonest entities’ attempts to build international commerce. Banking sanctions, banning imports, and financial market blacklisting have all proven to be effective deterrents for trade secret theft.
Intellectual property theft, and the more traditional forms of trade secret theft, have the potential to ruin a company’s progress and profitability. Business litigation laws are in place to protect businesses from trade secret fraud. The commission’s findings have shown that this isn’t always enough. It could be the right time to introduce stronger laws that keep thieves from robbing businesses of their data and company secrets.
Source: Reuters, “Panel urges tougher U.S. response to trade secret theft,” Paul Eckert, May 22, 2013