Intellectual property – a concept encompassing intangible assets resulting from human creativity and innovation. They are valuable and can be protected by various laws and regulations to ensure creators and innovators are properly recognized and rewarded for their contributions.

Importance of manufacturing intellectual property:

  • Protecting IP stimulates companies and individuals to invest in research and development.
  • IP-based industries generate significant revenue and employment opportunities.
  • IP protection allows companies to establish a unique identity in the market.
  • IP rights enable companies to collaborate and license their innovations to other firms.
  • IP laws combat counterfeiting and piracy, which are serious issues in the global market.
  • Robust IP protection makes a company more attractive to investors, demonstrating valuable assets and competitive advantages.

Strong protection against issues with intellectual property can make a company more attractive to investors, as it demonstrates that the company has valuable assets and competitive advantages.

Laws that criminalize the theft of intellectual property:

  • Patents grant inventors exclusive rights to their inventions, preventing others from making, using, selling, or importing patented inventions without permission for a limited period.
  • Trademarks protect names, logos, symbols, and phrases distinguishing goods or services from others, ensuring brand recognition and preventing unauthorized use by competitors.
  • Trade secrets encompass valuable and confidential business information such as formulas, methods, or customer lists, and laws protect them from unauthorized use or disclosure.
  • Design laws protect the appearance of products, such as their shape, configuration, or pattern.
  • Integrated Circuit Layout Design Law provides protection for integrated circuit layouts, preventing unauthorized copying.
  • Several international agreements protect intellectual property overseas, such as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the USA, addressing copyright infringement on digital platforms.
  • The European Patent Convention (EPC) provides a unified system for obtaining patents in multiple European countries. 

These are highly effective tools for businesses.

The Most Famous Intellectual Property Theft Examples 

Below, we will consider the most important points.

Copyright Infringement

Intellectual property and data protection hold significant value, and such infringement involves using, reproducing, distributing, or displaying copyrighted materials without the owner’s permission.

Starbucks vs. Obsidian Group

In 2016, Starbucks filed a lawsuit against the competing coffee chain Obsidian Group for promoting their new beverage, Freddoccino. Starbucks claimed that the similarity in the name constituted a misappropriation of intellectual property from their own popular iced coffee. Despite Obsidian’s attempts to allay concerns by renaming their drink to Freddo, Starbucks persisted in pursuing the case, and the process is still ongoing.

Trademark Counterfeiting

This includes unauthorized use of trademarks or logos to deceive consumers into believing they are purchasing genuine products or services. In India, a company used the name “Rolex” and imitated the logo of the renowned watchmaker to sell counterfeit products, causing confusion among consumers.

Patent Infringement

Occurs when someone manufactures, sells, or uses patented inventions without the patent owner’s permission. Motorola filed one of the most prominent cases in technology history, accusing Apple of infringing their intellectual property rights. Both companies made claims against each other regarding various patents, leading to multiple suspensions of the case due to insufficient evidence.

Misappropriation of Trade Secrets

It entails unauthorized acquisition, use, or disclosure of confidential business information. What is confidential business information? It refers to data that holds value for a company’s competitiveness.

Example: In 2006, a former Coca-Cola employee attempted to sell the company’s secret recipe to Pepsi, subsequently getting caught and held accountable for violating the non-disclosure agreement.

How to Prevent Intellectual Property Theft in Manufacturing Field

Intellectual property theft poses a serious threat to companies operating in the manufacturing industry.Secure document data is crucial to preserving competitive advantage and ensuring long-term success.

Secure Online Data Storage

The manufacturing sector heavily relies on data for various aspects of the business, from product design and production processes to supplier and customer information. Storing this valuable data in a secure online environment is crucial to prevent intellectual property theft. Secure online data storage ensures that unauthorized individuals or cybercriminals cannot access, manipulate, or steal critical information.

Advantages of secure online data storage:

Enhanced Security

Advanced encryption and authentication protocols provide virtual data protection against unauthorized access.

Disaster Recovery

Storage solutions often offer backup and recovery capabilities, ensuring data remains accessible even in case of hardware failures or emergencies.

Access Control

Administrators can set permissions to control who can view, edit, and share specific documents, reducing the risk of internal data leaks.

Secure Document Exchange

Manufacturing companies often collaborate with various stakeholders, including suppliers, partners, and customers. Secure document exchange is necessary to prevent IP theft during the sharing of confidential information and trade secrets.


Exchanging encrypted intellectual data ensures that only authorized recipients can access shared information.

These platforms allow businesses to track the flow of information and revoke access if necessary.

Optimization and utilization of automated business processes

This method entails the following advantages:

  • Automation reduces manual errors and accelerates various processes, leading to shorter production and delivery times.
  • Automated workflows ensure efficient resource utilization, waste reduction, and lower production costs.
  • Minimizing the risk of human errors, automation guarantees the accuracy and reliability of critical data.

VDRs are secure online spaces used for storing and sharing confidential documents with external parties.

Advantages of VDRs:

  • VDRs provide a secure environment for exchanging confidential information with external partners, investors, or regulatory bodies.
  • Administrators can set detailed permissions to restrict access to specific documents and folders.

VDRs keep a history of document changes, preventing unauthorized alterations to important files.

Intellectual property represents a valuable and enduring resource, playing a crucial role in modern society and the economy. Its creation, protection, and management pose complex and relevant issues for the business sector and society as a whole.

Understanding the impact of intellectual property theft on manufacturing competitiveness is crucial. IP is susceptible to threats such as theft, piracy, and copyright infringement. Effective management and establishing safe storage for important documents help foster a competitive environment for innovative solutions.