In my previous blog post titled, “Trade Secrets Protection-Mindfulness,” I referred to an incident in Massachusetts in which a bad actor physically infiltrated a robotics company’s facility without notice. The bad actor was subsequently found to be in possession of a cache of recording equipment and arrested. He was charged in federal court with attempted theft of trade secrets, and access without or in excess of authorization with intent to obtain information.
In the blog post I said, in part, “Of course, the physical security policy at the targeted company needs to be evaluated and enhanced through an installation of access control equipment such as: cameras, motion detectors, alarms; and, procedures, such as, all visitors and contractors are chaperoned through the facility without exception; and everybody wears an identifying badge on their outermost garment, with the exception of the CEO, maybe.”
This is still true, but in thinking about how companies can more effectively track the movements of persons traveling through their facility, I was reminded of the benefits of Radio Frequency Identification technology (RFID).
These days, a company does not need to rely only on “identifying badges” being worn by company personnel or visitors, or, employees challenging strangers to minimize their risk of IP theft. These days a company can acquire RFID technology that has the capability of ensuring that employees and visitors do not drift into areas in which they are not authorized.
Of course, in the Massachusetts incident, the problem was more fundamental. The bad actor infiltrated the building without being identified and logged in, to begin with. But when authorized persons such as employees enter the facility or a visitor is given permission to enter, it is possible to track their movements in real-time.
RFID technology essentially acts as an indoor GPS system.
CAPABILITIES OF RFID TECHNOLOGY
- Locate visitors and employees in real-time
- Record history of everybody’s movements throughout the facility
- Track inventory, as well as documents
For example, last year it was reported in The Economist that the Italian shoe manufacturer Ferragamo inserted RFID identification tags into their shoes. “Inserted in the left shoe’s sole is a passive radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag. A transmitter-receiver (known as an interrogator) can send a signal to the tag and read its response. Only genuine Ferragamo shoes send back the correct one. The RFIDs are the Italian shoemaker’s latest weapon in its campaign to protect its brand from fakes.”
There are a number of companies around the world that offer RFID technology to businesses, but in my research for this post, one RFID technology company website stood out.  It provided not only a comprehensive written description of the variety of ways and applications RFID technology can be used but also helpful YouTube video demos.
There are a number of obvious reasons for IP owners to explore the use of RFID technology, but one thing is that it affords a company real-time information as to the movements of persons and property within their facility. And for employees who take seriously the need to be more mindful of trade secrets protection need not feel compelled to put every unidentified person—metaphorically speaking—up against the wall.
This is good news for all IP owners confronted with the daily challenges of preventing the theft of their trade secrets from not only outsiders but insiders as well.
A company should not be vague about who is in their space.
 The Economist “Stamping it Out,” https://www.economist.com/news/international/21697218-china-grew-richer-and-more-innovative-people-assumed-it-would-counterfeit-less-think
 Litum Solutions http://litum.com/rfid-solutions/
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