You could argue that intellectual property has never been as vulnerable as it is today and that much of the blame lies on the rise of the internet.
These days, with everything online and in digital format, one breach can make your property widely available. Once something gets on the internet -- a movie, a book, a song or a design for a new product -- it is nearly impossible to remove it.
By comparison, an employee who wanted to steal and sell trade secrets from your company three decades ago had to get ahold of physical files, transport them out of the building and physically exchange them with someone else. It was a long, complex process, and there was always the chance that you could protect those secrets after a breach by tracking down the physical files. Only one person would have them.
These days, an employee with email access could steal digital files and send them to hundreds or even thousands of people in mere seconds.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) calls intellectual property theft a "growing threat." They note that the rise of file-sharing networks and digital technologies has played into this rise significantly. They also say that a lot of issues now happen in foreign countries, since the internet has connected the globe. This can make it harder to enforce intellectual property laws. They estimate that businesses in the United States lose billions annually.
The internet has done wonders for many businesses and has sped up innovation. Unfortunately, it has also increased the risks of intellectual property theft. It is very important for those dealing with this serious, costly issue to know what legal steps to take.