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The length and complexity, the number of geographically distributed firms, as well as the number of products that modern supply chains are tasked with delivering to consumers have grown exponentially over the past several decades. Regional supply chains have transformed into global ones with intellectual property and related proprietary information being dispersed across firms’ extended enterprises. Couple these trends with the increase in digitization and the larger presence of internet-enabled technologies, and the number of attack vectors for malevolent actors has outpaced potential protections and safeguards. Succinctly stated, supply chains are vulnerable to intellectual property theft. But questions remain, such as which parts of supply chains are the most vulnerable? What technologies exist to help protect intellectual property? What is missing, and what can be done? Hence the purpose of this paper. Upon investigation, our team has found: (1) The implementation of training for supply chain personnel to the scale and scope of the increasingly pervasive vulnerabilities of IP in supply chains; (2) The implementation of protocols for traceability and tracking of raw materials at the beginning of the supply chain, and across entities of the supply chain, ideally through an established set of standards for IP protections in the onboarding process; and (3) establishing a ‘detection/mitigation/recovery’ risk management footing such that firms have a balanced approach to handling IP theft.

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