Background to the research project

In the form of brand and product piracy, German companies are increasingly becoming the target of anti-competitive and mostly white-collar crime. Technological progress and the increased networking between suppliers, customers and service partners favor the attack potential of a fatal siphoning off of company know-how. Product piracy threatens German companies and can lead to loss of sales, loss of image and long-drawn-out liability suits. However, companies are often unaware of what core know-how is worth protecting in the first place and what information is disclosed. Attacks on know-how start with obtaining publicly available information, but also include impersonating false identities, planting spies, and even poaching employees. It is therefore crucial for companies to identify critical core know-how from all areas of the company and restrict its dissemination. This is where Protactive comes in.

Aims of the research project

Protactive develops a preventive protection concept for capital goods through a holistic approach of organization technology and knowledge management. The Protactive approach is not limited to the company itself, but looks at the value chain beyond the company's boundaries. In order to assess the risk of information and knowledge transfer with regard to possible product piracy and to be able to consciously control knowledge outflows, a software tool is being developed to identify critical information and knowledge flows. The aim is to interrupt the flow of information and knowledge to potential product pirates or at least to make it more difficult so that plagiarisms do not appear at all or appear with a considerable delay and their creation requires greater effort.

Analysis to prevent the unwanted outflow of know-how

With the help of the methods developed in the project, the interfaces at which information and knowledge are disclosed are systematically identified and the contents described by means of a modeling procedure. Using a dynamically controlled assessment interview, various risks for the misuse of the content, the trustworthiness of the recipients and the protective measures already in place are examined. Based on this, targeted secrecy and protection measures can be designed.

The protection of intellectual capital: a software tool to reduce product piracy

The main component of the project results is a self-analysis tool. The Knowledge Firewall Designer (KFD) guides users in the company through an analysis process in several steps and, with the help of KMDL®, identifies actionable interfaces for the introduction of protective measures.

Project partners, funding and data

The BMBF-funded research project Protactive was conducted by the Chair of Information Systems at the University of Potsdam and supervised by the Project Management Agency Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (PTKA) - Production and Manufacturing Technologies Division (PFT).
Duration: 2008 - 2010