Half of businesses vulnerable if intellectual property stolen | FAST

Half of businesses vulnerable if intellectual property stolen

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Survey reveals SMEs do not have adequate protection against software theft

Just under a half (49 per cent) of UK professionals working in IT are concerned that any potential threat to their organisations’ intellectual property would directly lead to the loss of their job.  This is according to the latest research carried out by the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST).

Furthermore, over half the businesses questioned felt that not enough was being done to protect them against IP infringement or theft. The research, conducted at the Cloud Computing World Forum, polled 100 IT and business decision-makers in UK based enterprises.

The Digital Economy Act is moving towards being implemented following a number of high profile legal test cases and Judicial Reviews and yet, despite this, many of the survey participants were unaware of the legislation and the legal framework currently being rolled-out.

However, there was some agreement on what the priorities should be for protecting IP:

  • 53 per cent felt that not enough is being done to protect IP right
  • Over half (58 per cent) of the sample did not know what the Government’s current IP strategy was. This represents an welcome decrease from 2011 when the figure stood at 66 per cent
  • When asked what the most important action government could take to protect IP 23 per cent stated it should increase punishments for infringers; 19 per cent felt Trading Standards should have increased powers; 19 per cent felt that ISPs should block copyright infringers

Following on from the Hargreaves Review (2011) the Government has unveiled proposals that give the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) extensive powers to mediate when patent disputes arise. One of the proposals in particular was around resolving disputes around IP as one of the key barriers for businesses.

Julian Heathcote Hobbins, General Counsel at FAST, commented: “UK business is saying they are still concerned about the theft of their IP and the majority believe still not enough is being done to protect those rights! This appears to be hitting home with one ‘killer fact’: roughly half (49 per cent) of respondents felt that their jobs would be threatened if copyright infringers were to target their company’s IP, up from 39 per cent in the last year alone,”

“In spite of numerous Government led reviews on copyright reform and IP protection, businesses and individuals remain somewhat in the dark as to what their specific rights and protections are. Whereas larger software house often possess the knowledge or the economic clout to seek out and pursue copyright infringers, many SMEs are not in a position to do so. It’s therefore important that we empower SMEs to act when their IP is being threatened and make the legislative process as efficient and straightforward as possible to help SMEs to fortify themselves against IP theft,’ he added.