There’s a New Sheriff in Town

14 10 2008

Okay, not a sheriff… a bureaucrat.  Title aside, a new act signed into law this week by President Bush doubles previous IP fines and creates a new office under the president for intellectual property enforcement.

Read an article from Information Week on the new act.

The law is clearly targeted at media copyright infringement; however, it does apply to patent violations, which supports a trend I’ve noticed: Organizations today are not just worried about protecting customer data… they’re equally – if not more – concerned about protecting intellectual property.

Yes, compliance (especially PCI, GLBA, and HIPAA) are still very important for many organizations.  But more and more folks are waking up to the fact that IP can be equally important.  Help, or “pressure,” from legal teams and others is what I suspect is fueling this trend.  It’s not surprising, though, when you consider the length (and cost) to which we go through to protect our trade secrets.

Example: KFC (yes – Kentucky Fried Chicken) still keeps its Original Recipe on a piece of paper (now yellow from age) in a vault. When they recently decided to upgrade security, they went to great lengths to transport and store it temporarily (read the KFC article:

I don’t expect this new act to have a real impact on most businesses.  The government isn’t going to protect a company’s IP… they’ll just impose penalties on those that have stolen or misused it.  At the end of the day we all know that it’s up to a company to protect its trade secrets.  But the fact that the government is taking IP protection seriously – especially amidst the backdrop of a troubled economy and a presidential election – demonstrates the importance of the issue.  And it also validates a growing trend to protect intellectual property, and not just customer data.



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