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World IP Day 2023: Defending Against the On-Going Threat to Intellectual Property

April 26, 2023

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World Intellectual Property Day, celebrated each year on April 26th, is a day to recognize and raise awareness of intellectual property (IP) rights and their importance. Established in 2000 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the date of the holiday commemorates the inauguration of the WIPO Convention in 1970. More than just a chance to draw attention to the significant weight of IP and IP rights in today’s society, World IP Day also provides us the opportunity to discuss how the IP landscape can change for the better. This means addressing iniquity in IP owned and IP rights, as well as spreading the word about protecting your IP against theft.

What is IP?

Intellectual property is a term that covers a lot of ground. IP can mean anything from inventions and names to works of art and literature. There are four types of intellectual property recognized by IP law, each with its own requirements and protections. Patents are the strictest in both areas, having several criteria to qualify and giving the holder exclusive rights over the production, use, and sale of their invention. Copyright protects the holder’s right to copy, modify, and distribute their IP; trade secrets cover the processes and mechanisms used to produce the IP, protecting against theft but not against independent engineering; and trademarks are used to distinguish a brand or product.

Software IP is included in and can be represented by any and all of these types. The code of the software is copyrighted IP, and depending on the kind of software and what it does, it may also be considered a trade secret. A patent or trademark is not necessary to make unauthorized use of the IP illegal, but it may be useful to have that additional documentation to protect your rights to your IP.

Risks of IP Theft

The theft of IP involves stealing patents, copyrights, trademarks, or trade secrets. While it works somewhat differently than the theft of physical property, that doesn’t mean it can’t have weighty consequences all the same. The theft of copyrighted or patented material can lead to loss of revenue and competitive edge for the target company, as potential consumers may obtain their IP for free and potential competitors may use stolen trade secrets to one-up them. It can also hurt a company’s reputation and market share.

Even if you or your company have a registered trademark or a patent in place, the costs of recovering stolen IP and remediating the damage can be far higher than you might think. If it comes down to legal action, then legal fees and manpower can eat up a lot of resources and money that could be better allocated elsewhere. It is far better, in the long run, to protect your IP and sensitive IP data from the start.

Protecting Sensitive IP

Because intellectual property theft is not the same as physical theft, there are unique challenges and hurdles to overcome when trying to prevent it. Protecting IP data requires many of the same measures and practices as protecting other sensitive data. Limiting access using the principle of least privilege, securing your network against cyberattacks, and training your employees in cybersecurity best practices can go a long way in preventing the theft of your IP.

Software IP protection solutions have to account for many different types of theft and damage. Software piracy is a serious problem to reckon with, and the harm that it does is only supplemented by other types of software IP theft. Reverse engineering the code for a software, tampering with the code, and distributing it on the gray market are all forms of software IP theft that can be mitigated with a licensing management solution.


The goal of World IP Day is “to highlight the role that IP rights […] play in encouraging innovation and creativity.” Protecting sensitive IP data is vital in order for that goal to be achieved in a meaningful way. World IP Day is a perfect opportunity to discuss not only the importance of IP creation and legal rights but also the dangers of IP theft and the benefits of proper protection against it. Using cybersecurity best practices and specialized solutions, you can rest easy knowing your IP is well-secured against attack.