Cyber-espionage a growing threat to businesses, expert says at IPIL Fall Lecture 

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Elizabeth Rowe

Professor Elizabeth A. Rowe of the University of Florida Levin College of Law says it has become increasingly difficult for companies to protect themselves from cyber-espionage.

Nov. 8, 2013 -- The technological revolution of recent years has been driven more by information than the industrialized processes of years past, and it is getting increasingly difficult for companies to safeguard that proprietary information, a leading authority on intellectual property law said Thursday at the annual IPIL Fall Lecture.

“The internet is a scary place for trade secret owners; corporate espionage is a threat from many quarters,” Elizabeth A. Rowe, professor and director of the Program in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, told the gathering at the Four Seasons Hotel.

While the digital world makes it harder to protect business information from cyber-espionage, companies have increasing incentives to collect and aggregate greater amounts of information to gain leverage in the marketplace, she said.

Primarily through the use of trade secrecy provisions, Rowe said, companies can control and limit information about its products and operations that is released to the public and government. Intellectual property law can restrain those who disclose or use proprietary information and restrict employees’ conduct and mobility. Patents can control research even into the realm of science and medicine.

IP law is a powerful tool, she said, and the line between protecting information and the freedom to use and share it is oftentimes blurred.

The Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law Fall Lecture is sponsored by the Ronald A. Katz Foundation.

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