Hey partner, can you keep a secret?

By Catherine
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By Catherine Bolgar


Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in aerospace and defense depend more than ever on suppliers to deliver innovation. That means sharing information and collaborating closely with third parties.

How can companies protect their intellectual property (IP) in such a fluid environment? The stakes are especially high in aerospace and defense, where technology is key to being competitive and is costly to develop. In addition, the nature of these sectors makes it difficult to apply some of the best practices used elsewhere to protect trade secrets.

“Aerospace and defense companies are somewhat unique in a couple of ways,” says Pamela Passman, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Responsible Enterprise And Trade, or CREATe, a Washington-based nongovernmental organization that helps companies around the world prevent piracy, counterfeiting, trade-secret theft and corruption. “There is the importance of collaboration and sharing across the supply chain” in general, she says. In addition, “there are incentives, at least in the U.S., in Department of Defense procurement to involve small and medium-size enterprises. Increasingly, it’s a highly regulated procurement space. That includes regulations around cyber risk.”

SMEs often are too small and unsophisticated to have adequate cyber and management controls to protect IP, Ms. Passman notes. If they are growing very fast they may not be as rigorous in vetting or training new hires as are some other institutions.

Larger institutions often have someone in charge of protecting IP. “Usually it’s part of the legal or research and development function,” she says. “We recommend having a cross-functional team that includes IP, R&D, cyber security, procurement and supply chain and human resources.”

Human resources’ involvement is important because insiders—who might be direct employees or contractors of either the OEM itself or suppliers—commit a lot of IP theft. A Feb. 2014 report by CREATe and PwC estimated that trade-secret theft amounts to 1%-3% of U.S. gross domestic product. “It’s significant,” Ms. Passman says. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation made a film, “Company Man,” to educate companies about protecting trade secrets.

New hires usually sign agreements not to divulge IP, but those requirements need to be reinforced throughout their employment as well as when they leave the company, she says. That goes not only for employees of OEMs, but also for those of suppliers.

Companies need to be clear about what is protected IP:

It’s only a secret under the law if a company takes reasonable steps to keep it secret,” Ms. Passman points out.

Employees, especially scientists and authors of software, frequently look at their work the way artists do, assembling portfolios of their output to show to prospective employers. The problem is, under most [U.S.] state laws, when the employee creates their work in the course of their employment, the employer owns that work and it sometimes contains trade secrets, says Claude M. Stern, co-chair of the intellectual property litigation practice in the San Francisco office of at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, an international litigation-only law firm.

Employees might not be acting maliciously or with willful intent, but they would still be subject to a suit, Mr. Stern says, adding, “Companies are relatively rigorous about looking at their markets and who’s doing what. When a company comes up with something out of the blue that’s similar to my secret, I’m going to look at who’s working there.”

One way to protect IP is to be careful about who is privy to it and not to provide all the critical IP to one key supplier. However, companies in specialized sectors like aerospace and defense might not have a multitude of supplier choices. “In the global supply chain, sourcing is very challenging,” Ms. Passman says. “Certain materials or components may only be available in certain parts of the world.”

Companies also have conflicting priorities. While having multiple suppliers might better protect IP, many companies are reducing the number of suppliers in order to cut costs, according to a report by consulting firm Oliver Wymans. Aerospace and defense OEMs are pushing more responsibility and risk onto suppliers, and entrusting them with complete modules and systems, as well as R&D and innovation.

“In order to develop technology, it’s almost inevitable that the developer will disclose trade secrets to its vendor,” Mr. Stern says. “The question is, under what conditions? The protections are, or should be, in the contract.”

Patents help protect IP, but companies also need to protect evolving R&D that isn’t yet ready for patent application, or IP they don’t want to share at all.

Recourse for trade-secret theft can be difficult. The U.S. Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 took effect in May, giving companies greater ability to fight IP theft. The law lets companies file civil lawsuits in federal court; previously they had to sue in state courts, where laws varied. The federal government can file criminal charges for trade-secret theft.

The European Council adopted a directive on trade secrets in May to harmonize laws across the EU. Member states have two years to adopt legislation in line with the directive.

Some industries, such as those in mobile phones and business software, sue more frequently than others to protect trade secrets. Defense companies, by contrast, “are frequently, but not always, loath to sue their contractors,” Mr. Stern says. “They’re so close to their partners, they feel it would be mutually assured destruction. But in the appropriate case, we do see lawsuits, even among business partners.”

 

Catherine Bolgar is a former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe. For more from Catherine Bolgar, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join the Future Realities discussion.

Photos courtesy of iStock

ENOVIA Keys to 3DEXPERIENCE – Italy User Group Meeting

By Matthew
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Less management, More Innovation

Milan Keys Banner

You and your customers are cordially invited to attend the 2016 ENOVIA Keys to 3DEXPERIENCE User Group Meeting in Milan, Italy, coming June 23rd (Thursday).

Less management, More Innovation” is the theme of this year’s ENOVIA User Group Meeting

This June 23, Dassault Systèmes is pleased to invite you to the Keys to 3DEXPERIENCE roadshow 2016, to be held in Milan at the Spazio MIL.  It is a day dedicated to the confrontation with the world’s leading experts and the community ‘ENOVIA to educate, inspire and foster collaboration for the passage and adoption of 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

SDecleeImageII

Stephan Declee ENOVIA CEO

There are many reasons to attend:

 

  • Stephane Declee, CEO, ENOVIA, will tell us how to turn ideas into experiences, with an environment that is not file-based, but data-driven, and one which facilitates collaboration and innovation, thus creating a modular product platform for an extensive and global company.
  • Yannick Audoir, ENOVIA R&D VP, will cover topics such as the new ENOVIA 2016x:  “Powered
    Yannick Audoir VP of R&D, ENOVIA

    Yannick Audoir
    VP of R&D, ENOVIA

    By” the adoption of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform in an xCAD context, the ergonomic development of User Experience, to the availability of ENOVIA solutions on mobile devices.

  • Find out more on “Disruptive Engineering” and act quickly to capitalize on market opportunities while increasing design productivity, 3D tools and PLM Dashboarding Analytics in order to get faster decisions and gain a competitive advantage.
  • Hear testimony from leading companies that cultivate passion for innovation!

The cases of these clients you will hear at the meeting are representative of the current reality in which real-time collaboration among design offices and global product development teams has become essential to increase competitiveness by expanding the range of products and through the opening of new markets.

The concept of innovation always involves teams around the world working together with global information in a social cMilan-Keys-3DEXPERIENCEontext with the utmost clarity, confidence and consistency.

Do not miss this event as by attending, you will learn of the deep value offered by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and ENOVIA solutions.

Click HERE for the details, agenda and registration.  We suggest you REGISTER NOW as seats are limited.

See you in Milan!


“Meno Gestione, Più Innovazione” è il tema dell’evento ENOVIA di quest’anno.

Il 23 Giugno Dassault Systèmes ha il piacere di invitarti al Keys to 3DEXPERIENCE roadshow 2016, che si terrà a Milano presso lo Spazio MIL.

Si tratta di una giornata dedicata al confronto con i maggiori esperti mondiali e la comunita’ di ENOVIA per informare, stimolare e favorire la collaborazione per il passaggio e l’adozione della piattaforma 3DEXPERIENCE.

MilanoKeysBlogImageCi sono molte ragioni per partecipare:

  • Stephane Declee, CEO di ENOVIA, ci racconterà come trasformare le idee in esperienze, con un ambiente non più file-based, ma data-driven, che facilita la collaborazione e l’innovazione, creando così la piattaforma di prodotto modulare per l’azienda estesa e globale.
  • Yannick Audoir, ENOVIA R&D VP, ci farà scoprire le novità di ENOVIA 2016x: dal “Power By” per l’adozione della 3DEXPERIENCE platform in contesti xCAD, agli sviluppi ergonomici della User Experience, fino alla disponibilità delle soluzioni ENOVIA sui dispositivi mobile.
  • Per saperne di piu’ sul Disruptive Engineering, atto a capitalizzare velocemente le opportunità di mercato e aumentare la produttività del design, e agli strumenti di 3D Dashboarding e PLM Analytics, per prendere decisioni piu’ velocemente  ed acquisire un vantaggio competitivo sui concorrenti.
    Per ascoltare le testimonianze di aziende leader che coltivano la passione per l’innovazione:

Milan-KeysI casi di questi clienti sono rappresentativi di una realtà in cui la collaborazione in tempo reale tra gli uffici di design e di prodotto sparsi nel mondo, diventa fondamentale per aumentare la competitività attraverso l’ampliamento della gamma dei propri prodotti e l’apertura di nuovi mercati.

Il concetto di innovazione implica sempre di più che i team in tutto il mondo collaborino con informazioni globali in un contesto sociale nel massimo della chiarezza, della fiducia e della coerenza.

Non mancare a questo appuntamento, potrai toccare con mano come il valore della 3DEXPERIENCE platform e delle soluzioni ENOVIA.

CLICCA QUI per i dettagli , agenda e registrazione.  REGISTRATI sin da ora, i posti sono limitati.

Ci vediamo a Milano!

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Envisioning The PLM Of The Future

By Matthew
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How do you envision the PLM of the future? 

How will your company embrace the digital transformation?

You and your customers are cordially invited to attend the 2016 ENOVIA Keys to 3DEXPERIENCE User Group Meeting in Greenville, SC, USA.

Attend the 2016 ENOVIA Keys to 3DEXPERIENCE User Group Meeting to discuss these questions and:

  • Learn all about ENOVIA R2016x
  • Explore how the 3DEXPERIENCE platform fuels sustainable innovation
  • Engage with 3DS experts from ENOVIA, DELMIA, EXALEAD and NETVIBES
  • Connect with ENOVIA R&D inside Product Strategy Roundtable Sessions
  • Network with your professional peers throughout the event including our fun networking activities
  • Participate in breakout, keynote and panel sessions

GreenvilleSiteWe are excited to connect you with Dassault Systèmes experts – and our event partner, GE Power – from around the globe who will inform, discuss and receive your feedback. Click here to view our agenda (subject to change).

Seating for the event is limited so please

register here today!

We look forward to welcoming you to Greenville, SC in June!



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