With the rapid changing pace in the global market it can be difficult for manufactures to keep abreast of the risks and challenges that new ways of working present, especially to your intellectual property. In 2014 it was reported that 21% of manufacturers were hit by intellectual property theft.
A growing threat to the manufacturing sector arises from the increasing number of counterfeit goods, where there is a growing ease with which these products can enter the market, especially with the emergence of such technology as additive manufacturing.
Take a look at China’s manufacturing industry for example; in China imitation is considered the sincerest form of flattery, so when Chinese manufactures see products or services that are very successful they copy them. This practice is so entrenched in Chinese culture there’s even a word for it – Shanzhai.
Although the risks and challenges faced by manufacturers differ from sector to sector, there are a number of trends that apply across the whole board and should be carefully considered by manufacturers if they are to protect their intellectual property.
The areas driving the manufacturing sector forward include research and development, innovation and process efficiencies. The product of these will require the proper patent and design right protection if your business is to maintain a competitive edge.
Equally as important as these formal protections is the attention of the knowledge transfer, ensuring that the correct provisions are in place to guarantee all intellectual output is owned by the business and not the individual who drove the development and innovation.
Infringement of intellectual property can also arise from theft, loss or leaks from employees and third parties,with remote working and the common use of mobile devices allowing for the ease of information transfer, posing the primary threat. According to a survey conducted by security firm Kaspersky Lab, malware is the most common cause of data loss for manufacturers, accounting for 23% of the most serious incidents.
At Fascia Graphics® where we manufacturer bespoke membrane keyboards, graphic overlays and screen printed labels, we have been subjected to two infringements of intellectual property in the last five or so years, specifically to the design and content of our website. Property that cannot so readily be protected by patents and trademarks, or infringements easily discovered when they happen.