Over the years on Taft’s Privacy and Data Security Insights, we have written on the risk of data breaches and the specific impact on privacy, or the compromise of confidentiality of personally identifiable information. However, many clients forget to also consider the value in other information they possess, specifically proprietary information, information subject to trade secret, and intellectual property. Today we will discuss how failing to account for intellectual property in your data security program can be costly, especially in the event of a data breach.
Intellectual property and specifically patent protection is a critical component for the success of many U.S. businesses, both large and small. As the desire to obtain patent protection grows, so too does the occurrence of data theft and other data breaches. Therefore, companies need to know whether an invention is still patentable if the propriety information underlying the invention is the subject of a data breach or other cyber security failure. The question applies whether a data breach is accidental or malicious and whether it is perpetrated by an outside source or by an employee of the company. The answer is the same: the patent rights are likely forfeited.