If you spilled your morning coffee last week when you read that the Chinese army is behind the cyberattacks on US businesses, then we need to talk.
It may have raised eyebrows that the Chinese military was called out so publicly -- so much so that they quickly denied any involvement. But that the Chinese are hacking North American (and other countries') networks should surprise no one, especially in the electronics industry.
Reminds me of an article I read years ago, about the Gypsie culture (now referred to as "Roma" by some). Similar situation there. The concept of personal property is foreign to that culture, evidently much as the concept of IP is to the Chinese.
By the way, to answer the question in the title, IP theft is never okay. We have annual mandatory training courses where I work, to drum that point home. And people have been fired when they were caught doing something questionable along those lines, against another company.
I would view the cyber-cold-war waged by governments as something different from the cyber theft of industrial IP, however. Much like armed forces are different from armed thugs on the street.
While on the way to work I caught on the news that Australian customs just seized more than half a ton of ice (drug) worth almost half a billion $ being imported form where? China. The Chinese have a lot to answer for and the west needs to use a bit more stick and less carrot to get them into line, methinks.
ok, US is world's largest exporter of what?
Free and easy. come in email, paper, tapes...
that's the true reason why bin laden co. want to erease this big piece of crap off the face of earth.
A fundamental incompatibility of philosophies. Communism: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need (interpret as "if I need it, I'm justified in taking it"). Capitalism: I'm responsible for my own livelihood, therefore, if I create it, I should be able to profit from it (and I need to so I can put food on the table.)
The better share of knowledge; the better humankind is gonna be.
Imaging if Apple had kept others from building any kind of 3.5" screen to 10" screen no keyboard device, we wouldn't have so many other options to choose from in terms of smartphone and tablet.
On the other hands, there is no doubt that IP protection has encouraged corporation to innovate. We all benefit from it; from electronics to pharmaceutical, from automotive to agricultural.
To identify a theft, you can either catch them in smoking gun or look through loot. To catch an IP theft, unless you catch them in smoking gun, it will be very tricky. Using the attacker network address might be a way. Nonetheless, hackers can be extremely smart. They are able to hijack IP addresses through hacking into multiple hosts to undermine the ability of the authority to track them down. At the end of the days, who knows where they (hackers) are really coming from. We know most likely what they are going after.
When knowledge becomes so critical to get ahead, I've no doubt that most countries are doing their diligence to learn whatever they can. Plus, intelligence is priceless. By knowing the developing of confidential project, authority might be able to do a intelligent guess of what the future takes us. Precaution might be taken.
Seems like my comment earlier disappeared! My point was recognizing IP theft is one part of the problem but correcting that act and enforcement is more important. WTO is supposed to enforce this and signatory parties are expected to abide by it. But this right now is not very well implemented.
way to stay classy, sprite0022.
Actually, I am curious what's really your problem---US is world largest exporter of many things, so I'll take your word for smut being one of them. So what? US leads in high technology, but you seem to wish it off the face of the earth because smut or fast food or whatever. Dude, get some sense of proportion.
US is a major source of high tech by working hard and inventing things, not stealing email, paper or tapes. In fact, people whose recipe for success is surreptitious copying of someone else's IP condemn themselves to eternal inferiority, so be careful what you wish for.
Are you defending stealing IP because it's so easy? I don't even know where to start with this one.
Instead of stealing proprietary IP people would be better off by working to create or improve existing community IP. Whether it's open science or open software or open hardware, such freely available IP is a tide that tends to lift all the boats.
@przemek: thank you! That comment should be sanitized a bit for a professional portal like this! Stealing IP is NOT ok and I have not seen any objective argument to defend it, cultural or otherwise.
Well said, przemek. Presumably sprite0022 is defending the right of someone to fly planes into buildings and kill large numbers of people because he does not like porn? Puhleeeze! And if Osama did not like porn, all he had to do is stay in his cave in Afghanistan and I can pretty well guarantee that none would get to him.
You may find porn immoral (I do to some extent) but it's legitimate in the US and no one is stealing anything from anyone to produce or export it. So what's your point, sprite0022?
I think we need to define when is an idea, IP? Once you discuss an idea with anyone, you have already planted the seeds for optional applications. Once an idea is documented, either via a patent or a copy right, then it is up to everyone to respect the filers claim or contest its validity.
Yes the system looks a bit convoluted, but lawyers rule the world. Any engineer can look at another persons idea and see how to do it differently and I have yet to see a patent that covered all of the possibilities, despite soom law suits to the contrary.
What I really object to is blatant copying of an idea or technology to unfairly compete in the market place. This approach is WRONG at all levels.
I also object to a company using the excuse of IP as a way to squash all competitors.
Not everyone steals your IP exactly, most just find a new way to do the same thing with your basic idea.
You should respect their new approach.
It may be better than your own.
Just my opinion.
americans are quite generous in delivering free porn IPs to other country.
why it start whiling now?
From: Alfred Childers [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2013 7:35 PM
Subject: Do not bury your love life before time
Time is a pleasure; make it more long-lasting
Having sat through 2 graduate courses,as part of my PhD program, on IP by a leading Taiwanese IP expert(he was visiting professor at my university), I can tell how Asians view western IP. The summary of the courses were "go ahead and INFRINGE" . I was taught how to "design around" a patent so as to get the same functionality without technically violating the patent. And what to do if get caught.
I want to say, IP theft is here to stay. And nothing much can be done to stop it. Even in the US, corporations steal IP from one another. I remember one of my friend's friend who was hired at Marvel, his official daytime job was to read through all Broadcom patents, and come up with IP that "design around" the Broadcom patent.
But isnt it irritating when someone has a patent on some IP you already thought about or even worked hard on?
I think its too easy to claim IP.
But luckily its easy to proove partly or full copies, both in sw and hw, if the inventor just spends a little time to hide some unique patterns.
Ive used it myself in firmware, where I hid some unique text, zipped and tooked the header out and baked the data into the code together with some constant tables. There is no chance copying this without including the trace unless they reverse engineer every tiniest bit of the firmware.
The copies was stopped efficiently, even if they tried to hide the tracks.
Ok, this doesnt work well with design IP, but maybe there should be a demand for fingerprinting on HW and SW to even be able to take the cases to court?
But of course, if the gear is developed in china/india, maybe you're in trouble in the first place :p
I have to agree with "eewiz". I've been a "designer" (I despise the word "inventor") for practically my entire professional career. More than once I was asked to review a patent, find the "holes" and work around them. During the course of doing this I was handed patents for things like using an H-bridge driver in a circuit. I balked and said "How is it possible that they got a patent on such an absurdedly obvious thing?". The answer is always the same "They got the patent for using that circuit in THIS particular device" (a heart defibrillator to be exact in this instance). I'm not the first to say it and won't be the last, the "Patent System" is broken beyond repair. If I "come up with" anything I think worthy, I release it into the public domain as fast as possible. I have never had "an original thought" in my entire life; we are the products of what has come before us(and if you think that you are so special that YOU have "original ideas" do yourself a favor and search on ANY TWO words at alibaba.com and see how "original" you are). This gets away from the point of this blog post; Of course, the question is rhetorical and the answer as stated is it is never okay to "steal" IP, under any circumstances. I wouldn't walk into your shop and "borrow" a screwdriver, nor would I take your "idea". But when we've fostered and protected the idea that one can round the corners on a rectangle and get away with saying "No one has ever thought of this before and we'll crucify anyone that tries to do it from here on out" then we lie in the bed we've made. Oh wait, the rounded corner rectangle was used in a *consumer device" and no one has ever done THAT before. Except for when they did... No matter, I have more money than you so I'm right.
In summary, it is not ok to steal IP, but not every patent actually contains IP. Some patents would be declared invalid if someone thought it was worth the money & effort to challenge the patent in court.
Your example about the H-bridge-in-a-defibrillator patent might seem like case in point, but I suspect the court might rule this to be a valid patent if the inventor was the first to combine those two things.
That might seem ludicrous to we engineers, who learned about H-bridges many years ago from a college textbook, and who are also aware that defibrillators have been around for decades. But the USPTO often considers combinations of prior art -- even fairly obvious combinations -- to be "new IP." This is yet another way in which our patent system is broken.
I wouldn't go so far as to despise the word "inventor," because occasionally a genuine inventor actually comes along and, well, invents something -- really invents something.
But I fully appreciate your disdain for those who simply capitalize on the lack of an existing claim on obvious combinations of existing inventions.
On the other hand, you have companies trying to claim as their own IP ideas which they did not originate, and are, in fact, public knowledge. You only have to look at the number of patent applications that the USPTO reject as not novel to understand the picture. A lot of unoriginal patents still slip through the system.