Legal advisors, DWF reveal the importance of protecting a business’s intellectual property and ways to keep it safeguarded.
As a manufacturing business, you should be aware of the importance of protecting your confidential information, intellectual property and trade secrets.
Many businesses often have not had the time and opportunity to consider how they protect these valuable assets.
Often businesses are not even completely sure what constitutes their key intellectual property and trade secrets.
However, according to a recent study by technology consultants, Detica for the Cabinet Office, it is estimated that intellectual property theft costs British business £9.2bn a year and therefore from a commercial perspective, protecting intellectual property is critical.
Every manufacturing business will have information and know-how, such as manufacturing processes, business development and new product plans and design, which are integral to the operation and survival of the business.
In an ever increasingly competitive marketplace it is this information which gives manufacturers the edge over their competitors.mAs a result, it is has never been more important for businesses to protect this information.
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Threats to confidential information can come from outside the business from competitors or companies up or down the supply chain, but the biggest threat to confidential information can often be as a result of employee activity.
Many employees have access to valuable knowledge and information regardless of whether they work within sales, design or technical teams or undertake an administrative role.
This information is always an attractive asset to any competitor in the marketplace seeking to encroach on market share and those competitors will often attempt to attract employees on the basis of the confidential or commercially sensitive information that they have access to.
Changes to the nature in which we all work mean that it is more difficult to protect confidential information.
For example, increasingly employees are encouraged to work on an “agile” basis and to utilise a number of different electronic devices (both at home and in the workplace), and utilise social media as part of their day to day role.
This provides the opportunity to access a business’s confidential information both on and off site and makes it more important that businesses put appropriate safeguards in place to ensure that its assets are protected.
Manufacturers must carefully identify what information they need to protect and conduct an assessment as to how much damage would be caused should that information be disclosed to a third party and/or misused.
Once the information has been identified and the risk assessed, a business should consider what preventative measures should be put in place to achieve effective protection.
Taking preventative action is always more cost effective than a reactive approach and DWF has designed a product called “Asset Aware” to ensure that a business has appropriate safeguards in place to protect its confidential business assets and prevent its misuse by third parties.
The key aspect of this product is that, for a fixed sum, a business will have some peace of mind regarding protection from abuse by third parties whether they be ex-employees, competitors or customers.