IP Theft Is On the Rise in China; Global Manufacturers Can Protect Themselves with Better Tracking

Welcome to our first edition of Final Friday! On the last Friday of each month, our VP Jackie Luo will give her perspective on industry issues, current events, and news about eQuip! She has more than 6 years of experience in asset management, so be sure to keep an eye out for more.

This month, the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published an update report outlining the magnitude of China’s practices in stealing intellectual property from global manufacturers. To access the full report, you can click here.

This report came out at the eve of an escalating trade war between China and U.S, with the United States threatening to impose a 25% tariff on $250 Billion of imports from China starting in January 2019.

This report noted that China is becoming more proficient in cyber-enabled theft:

China’s cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property and sensitive commercial information exhibits increasing sophistication. According to cybersecurity experts quoted in a June 2018 report, China’s state-supported hackers have developed new ways of concealing their attacks.

While all eyes and preventive efforts are focused on preventing these cyber-attacks, I hope global manufacturers direct their attention to their own processes. Some basic improvements in managing physical assets and product samples can help prevent intellectual property theft.

We have written a series of blogs in late 2017 on IP theft. I hope these will provide some insights for how to prevent intellectual property theft through better tracking of product prototypes:

As you may find in our other blog posts, we believe you don’t need a big technology investment to improve product prototype tracking. Businesses can secure their intellectual property by adjusting processes they already perform.

By doing the following 4 things well, global manufacturers can greatly improve IP security and prevent IP theft:

  1. Transfer the custody of assets every time there is a check-in and check-out event
  2. Keep a record of transaction history of each asset
  3. Know where your assets are located at all times
  4. Record the physical image of asset whenever possible

Improving policies and practices towards China will take time. But global manufacturers can start to improve their own business processes today.

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