Intellectual property is a broad category of laws concerning the rights of owners of intangible products of invention, creativity. In India it is governed by various laws according to respective IP’s.
There are numerous sub categories of IP law namely Patents, Copyright, Trademark, Trade secrets and Technology transfer. And they are defined as follows:
Patents are exclusive rights granted to inventions to incentivise the creation and dissemination of useful invention. Covered by the Patents Act ,1970.
Copyrights, grant right to the creator of an original work, including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and other intellectual works such as software code. Covered by The Copyrights Act, 1957
Trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design or a combination of all, that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one party from those of others.It is an exclusive right to use a certain design in commerce. Covered by Trade and Merchandise Marks Act,1958
Trade secrets, allow companies to maintain the confidentiality of economically beneficial information .
Technology transfer, refers to the process by which governments,universities and other organisations transfer inventions,knowledge or materials subject to IP restrictions amongst themselves.
After having understood these terms let’s move to see how security is breached in intellectual property regimes.Data stealing or loss of IP could be fatal to an organisation as today it forms the very core of a company.
Corporate secrets, business info could be in form of a new therapy, new formula for a medicine,any new market strategy or anything novel in which a thief can sell in the market and make money. Thus, IP theft is a very real threat to organisations across nations.The worst of it all is that it’s really hard to track an IP attack.
These attacks of stealing cause harm not only to organisations but also to other individuals associated with it such as stakeholders, customers etc. Copyrights and trade secrets are the two most frequently stolen among others.It includes stealing of software, deals, plans etc to be sold in the market or to rivals.
Another is piracy. Piracy of movies, songs etc causes huge loss to the creator. India, seeing the present scenario has started taking strict actions for example, Telangana intellectual property crime unit, is one of the 1st unit that has been launched in any Indian state to combat stealing of IP.
Loss of technology transfer can risk a nation’s security as well as lead to cyber war. China’s intrusive cyber policy and espionage towards America is a case in point. As informed by sources state backed hackers penetrated a US Navy contractor and stole 614 GB of Data containing classified info. Also IP theft costs US companies as much as $600 billion according to the Theft of intellectual property commission.
In order to prevent IP rights breaches we need to take some safety measures as:
- Secure your intellectual property both physically and digitally .Keep track of those who have the keys where confidential data is stored.Limit access and make strong passwords so that it can’t be hacked easily.
- Awareness is must. To prevent IP leaks inform the employees about how unintentionally they can cause harm to an organisation,inform them about security policy and measures to protect data.
- Use of tools that are available for tracking documents and other IP stores. Encrypting IP in some cases will also reduce the risk of loss.
- Keep an eye who uses the data and identify who has access to your IP .Classifying data from least to highly confidential and them limiting access can also go a long way.
- Lastly, remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
Hindu College, University of Delhi
Intern at Cyber Peace Foundation