Intellectual Property Rights and Threats of Hacking


Intellectual Property Rights are defined as the exclusive legal right given to a business or the inventor, for the use of something which the inventor has created with his or her intellect. The intellectual Property right is protected under different types: Patent, Copyright, Trademark, Geographical Indications, Trade secrets, and Industrial design. Intellectual property rights promote inventions and innovation. It gives recognition to the inventors and creators for their inventions. In addition to this, it deters competitors from coping ideas. Apart from protecting businesses, Intellectual property rights play a major role in fostering the economic growth and development of the country.

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Why do we need to protect Intellectual property?

Intellectual property is intangible assets, that are protected under the law just like tangible assets. To prevent the business to lose its competitive advantage and market value, protecting the intellectual property rights of the creator is vital. Intellectual Property theft is the act of stealing people’s ideas and inventions for their profit. Because of Intellectual property theft, companies may lose their customer’s trust. It can even sometimes hamper a company's reputation and causes a threat to the company's future. In 2017, it was estimated that intellectual property theft had cost the U.S., almost more than USD 225 billion yearly. The rise in the use of technology has created a threat to intellectual property. The demand for pirated content in India has also increased during the pandemic. It has not only impacted the position of India on the global IP ranking but also imperils the inventions and ideas of creators. According to International IP Index, 2022, though India’s IP score has improved by 13%, it still ranks 43 among 55 nations.

Common ways of Intellectual Property theft:

There are various ways of stealing Intellectual property that includes- hacking, privilege abuse, and human errors. Hackers are those cyber criminals who access a company’s sensitive data and intellectual property with the help of malicious software and technology. There are various ways of hacking including a keylogger, spear phishing, cross-site scripting, and password spraying. In Privilege abuse, the employees access the company’s sensitive data and intellectual property with an intent to sell it to competitors or start their own company. Human error occurs when the company’s sensitive information exposes due to a data breach caused by an employee’s carelessness.

Cases of Intellectual Property Theft:

It was found that, instead of imitating the creations, the hackers simply steal the blueprints and plans. In 2013, it was alleged that the blueprints of the new headquarters of Australia’s top spy agency were illegally accessed and stolen by Chinese hackers. In another case, the Australian metal detection and mining technology firm ‘Codan’, had faced a collapse in prices when Chinese hackers stole its designs to sell them at cheap prices in Africa. Later, it was found by the law enforcement officers that, one of the employees had used the hotel’s Wi-Fi, during his business trip to China. In 2014, US software firm Epic Systems accused Tata Consultancy Services of stealing its intellectual property. Epic system alleges that the TCS employees stole almost 6000 pieces of data by setting up a fake user account disguised as hospital staff. However, TCS contended that it has not misused or taken undue advantage of it.


To ensure an effective system for facilitating Intellectual Property and its rights, India developed a National IPR policy in 2016. A company can become less vulnerable to IP theft if it has a strong protection policy. It must be ensured that the idea is unique. The idea must be patented without undue delay for protecting your idea from stealing and copying. Moreover, companies should have strong encryption technology to tackle Intellectual property theft. Awareness regarding the IPR laws must be enhanced.

A digital watermark must be applied which helps owners track the distribution and copying of their work. Proper training must be provided to the employees regarding the protection of intellectual property and other data breaches. There must be a secure network for the company’s device. Also, the password of the device must be changed after every 2 to 3 months for high-level security. The system must be protected with secured anti-virus, to prevent third-party encroachments.


Intellectual property rights are the legal rights given to inventors for their unique ideas. Intellectual property rights are protected through Patents, Trademarks, Geographical Indications, and Designs. However, with the evolution of the digital world, there is a rise in the risk of intellectual property theft. In my opinion, companies should establish appropriate policies for the protection of Intellectual property. The solutions include having a strong encryption technology, avoiding the use of Wi-Fi provided in public places, and installing the most secured anti-virus software for the system.

Author: Nidhi Rao, in case of any query, contact us at Global Patent Filing, or write back us via email at

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