With more IT security against idea theft

Attacks from the Internet on companies' intellectual property and freshly developed innovations are nothing new. According to a 2020 BITKOM study, 70 percent of companies surveyed said they had been harmed by hacker attacks in 2018/2019. With Corona, however, this development is now accelerated by increased remote working and home offices, as external access to companies' systems and data increases and, at the same time, IT infrastructures are often less secure.

Hand operates the touchpad of a laptop

Companies around the world face the task of creating stable framework conditions that offer the best possible protection against cyber risks and at the same time enable mobile home working. As a globally positioned technology group, Heraeus has a comprehensive set of IP tools at its disposal to protect its intellectual property.

Kim Jessum, Chief IP Counsel U.S. presents IP strategies and trends in the interview and gives tips for more security.

Portrait of Kim Jessum

Working from home has become much more important during the pandemic and this state of affairs will continue after it. How can companies protect their intellectual property rights in this new environment?

Jessum: Companies should ensure adequate protection through their IT departments. Of course, password protection and limited access to protected information are crucial here. Training employees to handle information with care is also helpful. An employee may not think to do things differently when working fromat the comforts of home. For example, the employee's partner might work for a competitor, so the two should not work in the same room and the employee should not leave his or her screen without locking it. As with travel, it is important to be aware of your surroundings.

What can workers themselves do to help?

Jessum: Specifically, employees should be mindful of their surroundings and keep information inaccessible to bystanders.

How can small and medium-sized enterprises establish methods to protect intellectual property?

Jessum: Simple and inexpensive ways to protect intellectual property include using password protection for computers, software, and documents. Coupled with greater investment, information can be tracked, and alerts issued when an employee downloads or sends copies of protected information via email.

What is Heraeus currently doing to ensure the protection of its innovations?

Jessum: Each year, we review and update the IP strategy of each operating business unit to ensure that we are aligning our IP activities with our business objectives. We also train our employees, establish protective practices, and use agreements to guard confidential information. At the end of the day, time and money are always limited resources, so we must strive to use these resources as effectively as possible to support Heraeus's overall business success.

What are the top three global trends you see in intellectual property protection?

Jessum: In recent years, many countries have enacted more laws to protect trade secrets. There have also been improvements in the courts that hear intellectual property cases on a global level. Finally, there has been more emphasis on the quality and value of the intellectual property, not just how many patents a company owns.