June 29, 2021:

EMS and OEM companies often take a number of steps to protect customer intellectual property (IP).

They require signed non-disclosure agreements for all involved in the manufacture of their PCBs. They verify the identity of any visitors to their secured U.S. manufacturing facilities, and they require those visitors to be escorted.

But I couldn’t tell you the number of times I have received an email from a customer requesting a PCB quote that has attached to it not only the Gerber file(s) for the board, but also the assembly drawing, the bill of material, and the schematic drawing for the entire product.

With the press of a Send button, all that IP protection can go right out the door. There is no getting it back.

How is it email is often such a gaping hole in what companies think is a secure system?

What is your corporate process to keep ITAR or MIL data from being sent offshore? Do you even have one?

If not, it’s past time to look carefully at everything that gets sent out by your employees and others associated with your company. Failing to do so could bring serious legal and financial consequences.

I’d like your thoughts on this issue. Have any IP horror stories to share? Reach out to me at greg@boardbuying.com.