Intellectual Property Theft

Protecting intellectual assets is critical to ensuring the lasting success of your company. Intellectual property theft can take place through external IT network intrusions in which spyware is installed, allowing remote access to unauthorized users. Intellectual property theft can also be facilitated internally through sources such as current or former employees with access to data. These sources often choose to use the information for personal gain, such as in starting a new company or bringing it to your own company’s competitors.

The theft of intellectual property can cause great harm to a company, both in terms of revenue and reputation. Therefore, it is important to take action to protect your company from intellectual property theft.

When a claim is made that intellectual property has been used in the creation of another product or service, the claim must be investigated and evidence must be documented to support the claim. For example: did data from an ex-employee get copied from one company to another? More importantly, can this claim be proven?

The use of an experienced computer forensic examiner is absolutely critical, regardless of if you are the plaintiff or the defendant. McCann has helped hundreds of clients gather evidence of IP theft, including many that have a component of non-compete violations.

If you wish to obtain a temporary restraining order in your IP theft case, you must act quickly to file the necessary documentation. Our investigators work with your legal team closely to obtain the digital and non-digital evidence to document the key elements of the case. Digital evidence of downloading private information, emails that detail conspiracy, and other traditional investigative techniques lay out the case so that your actions, both in possible mediation or in court, support your goals.

If you are interested in our intellectual property services, contact our certified fraud examiners today. We will educate you on whether you are a victim of IP theft, and what we can do to fix it.

Glossary of Relevant IP Theft Terms

There are numerous terms that are relevant to digital forensics investigations that people browsing our site might not necessarily be familiar with. Therefore, we have compiled a glossary of important terms that you might encounter as you browse the site. If there are any terms not included in this list or if there are any terms you don’t fully understand, please feel free to contact us at McCann and we will be happy to help. Read our Glossary of Intellectual Property Theft Terms for explanations of phrases including bid rigging, blackmail, bribery, Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), etc.

Example Intellectual Property Theft Cases

The cases listed below represent a small sample of the hundreds of cases investigated by McCann over the past 28 years. Material facts have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients. Some of the cases discussed combine various issues and materials found in relevant case studies that have been reviewed by McCann Investigators. No attempt should be made to draw any factual conclusions based on the cases discussed. Please contact McCann Investigations for real world cases in which references can be furnished.

IP Theft and Infringement
This case involved the theft of intellectual property from an oil field services firm involved in the fast growth area of fracking. The case involved two current employees in collusion with a former employee who were using our client’s plans and designs to build fracking equipment that was to be used to start a competing company. McCann Investigations facilitated a complex investigation that included computer forensics, mobile device forensics, digital surveillance, traditional surveillance, and undercover work to gather evidence.

IP Theft and Product Tampering
This case involved the theft of intellectual property, non-compete violations, and product tampering. The case involved three employees in collusion who were using our client’s plans and designs to reverse engineer a competing chemical in order to start a competing company. In addition, the employees had decided to tamper with the chemical stock of the client in order to force customers to buy chemicals from their new company. McCann Investigations facilitated a complex investigation that included computer forensics, mobile device forensics, and traditional surveillance to gather evidence for our client. The case involved both a civil action and a criminal referral.

IP Infringement – Former Employee Presenting a “New” Invention to an Unsuspecting Employer
Our client reported to us that a competitor was showing a new product at a trade show which bore a striking resemblance to a product under development by our client. It was also noted by our client that an employee who was working on the development team had recently joined the competitor. In this case, when the competitor was notified, they denied involvement and invited McCann to examine the computer of the recently hired employee. A computer forensics examination of the meta files on the new employees computer revealed the details as to how and when the new files were uploaded to the new employer’s network. This confirmed the IP infringement and the new employee was fired. An agreement was reached between the parties outside of litigation.

IP Theft of Scientific Research at a Drug Company
Our client suspected that data collected on a new cancer drug had been stolen from a server. The drug was scheduled to begin FDA testing on humans. They were not sure if the data had been stolen and needed to investigate and document the theft. They needed to report the findings to an independent committee of the board of directors. McCann network forensics investigators were able to determine that the data had been compromised and it had been downloaded. However, the data was not downloaded by an external source, but by a recently departed employee. The company was successful in filing a TRO against the employee and the downloaded data was returned.


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