The Three Asset Lifecycle Stages Most Vulnerable to Intellectual Property Leaks
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According to the US Department of Homeland Security, $250 Billion worth of IP rights were seized in 2014. Intellectual Property theft, and the correlating losses, are an ongoing risk for any manufacturer or brand that deals in products or assets that can be trademarked. While outside factors are always a contributor to this risk, there are internal steps your corporation can take to help prevent IP theft from cutting into your bottom line. E-ISG works with companies to help companies track and manage IP samples and assets through their development lifecycle. Through our hands-on experience, we’ve identified three areas of an IP sensitive asset development lifecycle that are most at risk for IP theft and leaks.
Asset Lifecycle Stages Prone to IP Leaks and Theft
Lifecycle Stage: Asset Creation
Your company has done the leg work, the research, the focus groups, the feedback loops, the trials (and errors), and have forth a new trademarkable asset! Congratulations, time to celebrate – and start protecting – this new asset. Look at your current lifecycle management and ask yourself the following questions:
- When an asset is created, how does your company track its various pieces and components?
- Do those involved in its creation understand the importance of how the asset is moved?
- When does an asset get logged into your current tracking system?
Remember, the creation of an asset means, the creation of an opportunity for theft and leakage. Tracking and accountability need to happen as soon as an asset is created.
Lifecycle Stage: Asset Transfer
Transferring an asset can be as simple as moving from one room to another within the same building. It can also be as complex as moving across different countries to different corporate departments thousands of miles apart. Each time an asset switches ownership, there’s a risk that the IP may be attacked or accidentally leaked to a third party. Be sure your asset management system includes information that records who was involved in an asset’s transfer. Likewise, if the asset is on loan to an employee or department for a period, be sure the tracking system records the length of time the loan is for as well as reminders and ownership of the asset calling process.
Lifecycle Stage: Asset Disposal
The end of an asset’s lifecycle. Once the product has been developed to market, what does your company do with any preliminary IP sensitive assets? Most corporations have a plan in place for how to dispose of an IP sensitive asset sure, but a surprising number of corporations don’t have an accountability plan to ensure the disposal plan was carried out! Your tracking system needs to ensure that you know how, who, and when an asset was disposed of. Almost as important, the disposal records need to be searchable in the event of an audit or proven leak. If you’re finding yourself digging through old emails (or old office storage closets), you may want to look at upgrading your system.
While the above three stages don’t represent all the potential failure points for IP theft and leaks, they are the most common points for said leaks. If your current asset management system is falling short on these points, it might be a sign to invest in a new system.