Intellectual Property Theft: A Growing Threat to Research and Innovation

Intellectual Property Theft: A Growing Threat to Research and Innovation. Image of a hacker with his face hidden in a hoodie working on breaking into a website.Concern is growing among the FBI, Congress and some health care leaders about the theft of U.S. medical research intellectual property by foreign governments — most notably China, Russia, Iran and North Korea, according to a new whitepaper from the AHA Center for Health Innovation. The concern came into sharp focus recently when a leading research center ousted three researchers found to have violated federal grant rules from the National Institutes of Health, including keeping peer review confidential and disclosing foreign ties.

In the whitepaper, available exclusively to AHA members, John Riggi, senior adviser on cybersecurity risk for the AHA, and Edward You, supervisory special agent for weapons of mass destruction at the FBI, outline the nation state-sponsored threats.

"Broadly, these include criminal threats to IP; where that information is bought and sold on the black market; and nation state-sponsored threats where governments steal IP to advance their national security goals, such as for military use (including bioweapons), intelligence application or to gain a better assessment of U.S. technological capabilities," the article notes.

Riggi, a former FBI cyber division executive, emphasizes much of the focus is on the activities of the government of China and that the vast majority of the thousands of Chinese researchers and scientists employed in U.S. academic and medical research facilities are honest and contribute to the advancement of science and medical research.

The whitepaper also provides health care leaders with guidance on what their organizations can do to mitigate the risk of IP theft.

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