Operating in an open environment where intellectual property (IP) is vulnerable to theft or to be leaked through many doors: cyber incidents, outsourcing, contract manufacturing etc. [2,3], businesses need to find innovative ways to enable collaboration, but also to protect their IPs and minimize business impact of IPs loss throughout their supply chain.
There are technology-driven innovative solutions to enhance the protection for IPs covering the software source code to the R&D design material and technical specifications. Legal protection for IPs offers a second barrier of the protection as the damage recovery is time-consuming and the approach is inherently reactive. The technology-driven solutions offer the first barrier and a proactive protection layer with benefits such as:
- Proactively minimize the business risk from beginning against many sources of threats
- Provide continuous protection even after the IP is exposed in an open environment
- Enable collaboration, contribution, and joint development of IPs without worrying about the shared IPs are modified, changed, pirated by and transferred to unauthorised parties.
The basic idea is to translate the original meaning of an IP material into “unintelligible” and “irreversible” one where the recipients of the material can still enjoy the delivered functionalities or still able to manufacture based on the unintelligible specifications however the recipients can’t understand the original intention of the received materials.
Technologies have advanced to the point that the translation has found applications in information technologies (IT) to protect software IP and in sensitive technical requirements in highly confidential applications such as defense.
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