Crone & Mason Trade Secret Protection
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Frequently Asked Questions

#1. If my company already has a reputable and perhaps certified computer/IT security system to protect information, why do I need additional information protection services?

#2. If my company or research institution routinely file patent applications on each disclosure, isn't this sufficient to protect my intellectual property rights and future economic interests? What else can I do?

#3. If I have already filed a patent application or have a patent pending, why do I need to be concerned with other means to protect-safeguard my innovation?

#4. Doesn't the fact that I already received a patent on my innovation-research represent a deterrent to would-be infringers?

#5. Do I have to be concerned with competitor-economic intelligence and economic (industrial) espionage?


#1. If my company already has a reputable and perhaps certified computer/IT security system to protect information, why do I need additional information protection services?

  • First, computer/IT security is often mistakenly perceived as being synonymous with information security, thereby leaving significant disconnects - gaps in how information protection programs are conceptualized and implemented. For example, proprietary-competitive advantage information and trade secrets exists in formats not protected by computer/IT security.
  • Second, its important to recognize that not all valuable and proprietary-competitive advantage information and trade secrets are contained (stored) in your computer/IT system. Valuable information comes in many formats not protected by computer/IT security.
  • Third, an often overlooked consequence of hacking is that the valuable proprietary-competitive advantage information and trade secrets may have been compromised.

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#2. If my company or research institution routinely file patent applications on each disclosure, isn't this sufficient to protect my intellectual property rights and future economic interests? What else can I do?

  • First of all, far too many originators/owners of proprietary-competitive advantage information and trade secrets unwittingly relinquish (lose) their intellectual property (ownership) rights early by failing to recognize:

    •  early in the R&D process that their ideas-concepts constitute intellectual capital which has measurable value and competitive advantage.

    •  the necessity to preserve the leveraging value and competitive advantages for (future) commercialization, licensing or technology transfer opportunities by implementing effective information security programs through normal employee channels/procedures

    •  the importance of establishling a capability to detect information theft, misappropriation or leakage in a timely manner consistent with the due diligence requisites of state trade secret statutes and/or the Economic Espionage Act.

  • Secondly, events of the day have blurred how owners of proprietary information and trade secrets (corporations, universities, private institutions) exercise their right and ability to decide when , where , and the circumstances under which their work product can be disseminated (commercialized) and be assured that the privileges and economic benefits of ownership are fully realized.
  • Thirdly, we work in an extraordinarily competitive, aggressive and global business and R&D environment in which the traditional deterrence of intellectual property law has diminished relative to the growing cadre of would be infringers.

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#3. If I have already filed a patent application or have a patent pending, why do I need to be concerned with other means to protect-safeguard my innovation?

  • Filing a patent application on significant disclosures-innovations is an important and necessary initial step. But, it should not be your only step insofar as protecting the valuable ideas-concepts (proprietary information, competitive advantages, and trade secrets) in your innovation.
  • It's also important to work very closely with intellectual property-patent counsel from idea/concept development through early stages of commercialization.
  • It's also important to recognize that most mechanisms to enforce-protect (and/or recover lost) economic benefits - competitive advantages arising from theft-misappropriation-leakage (of your intellectual property) are reactive not proactive .

    •  That is, they apply only if and/or when the owner or licensee becomes aware of a suspected infringement, misappropriation or leakage.

    •  If effective sensors are not in place to detect (or, prevent) such losses in a timely manner, the other party stands to make significant economic-market gains without your knowledge.

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#4. Doesn't the fact that I already received a patent on my innovation-research represent a deterrent to would-be infringers?

  • Protection-enforcement provisions of intellectual property law no longer serve as stand alone deterrents to theft-misappropriation-leakage. We conduct business today in a very competitive, aggressive, global and sometimes vicious R&D environment. Assuming that filing a patent application constitutes a stand alone deterrent to would be infringers, that require no further or on-going protection or security represents a significant risk that carries an increasingly higher vulnerability - probability of failure along with a significant reduction of future economic (market share) benefits from your work product.

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#5. Do I have to be concerned with competitor-economic intelligence and economic (industrial) espionage?

  • Yes, the impact-consequences of worldwide, predatorial and highly sophisticated competitor and economic intelligence are, unfortunately, often omitted from information protection considerations.
  • Increasing competition from all sectors coupled with abbreviated life-value cycles of information and intellectual capital, particularly in R&D environments, require owners/originators to think more seriously about strengthening information protection-security measures to ensure their valuable ideas-concepts are appropriately safeguarded through early stages of commercialization.
  • The theft-misappropriation-leakage of proprietary information and intellectual property in the U.S. exceeds $45 billion annually. (American Society for Industrial Security, Safeguarding Proprietary Information Council Annual Survey, 2002) . The U.S. business community estimates $130 billion in lost sales annually to economic espionage. (Annual Report to Congress, National Counterintelligence Executive, 2002)
  • Intangible assets have surpassed tangible (physical) assets as the primary source of corporate- institutional value. This interaction of economics, intangibles and technology has created many new - asymmetric challenges to protecting proprietary information and competitive advantages which the extraordinarily sophisticated (global) economic intelligence phenomena have exploited in their favor.

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