Threat to Product Intellectual Property Growing says report

Over two-thirds of manufacturers find the threat to their product intellectual property (IP) has grown over the past two years - almost 25% say "significantly" - as they develop, manufacture, and sell products globally, according to new Aberdeen research. This finding confirms 2005 Aberdeen benchmarks in which manufacturers reported protecting product IP as the top challenge of global design.

The new study, "The Protecting Product Intellectual Property Benchmark Report: Safeguarding Design IP in a Global Market," explains how common approaches to global design and manufacturing - including using unsecured emails and documents - increase IP risk. The report exposes how IP loss diminishes profitability and discusses how successful companies protect IP.

"Among companies benchmarked, 48% report lost market share, 44% lost sales, 30% product commoditization, and 27% lower margins because of compromised product IP," said Jim Brown, Aberdeen Vice President, Product Innovation and Engineering, and report author. In response, over two thirds are actively pursuing improved product IP protection, with almost one third viewing this as a top-five business priority."

According to the report, companies that are best in class at protecting product IP were five times more likely to report significant gains in IP protection over the last two years than the poorest performers. These leaders have developed multi-faceted IP protection strategies that include IP friendly collaboration, documenting IP discovery, legal protection, and enhanced data security.

They also support these strategies by key technologies, including general IT security, document rights management, product data management, design collaboration, design translation/degradation, intellectual asset management, document management, business process management, and electronic R&D notebooks.

Best in class companies also adopt the following best practices:

- Seventy-four percent make a key executive responsible for protecting IP.

- Over 75% formalize IP protection processes.

- Over 50% integrate IP processes with new product development processes.