McCann Publishes Case Study on Oil Field Intellectual Property Theft

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With the development of the digital oil field of the future and the rapid advance of field hardware that supports these modern oil fields, McCann E Investigators, or EI’s as they are called, announce more success in stopping the theft of intellectual property.

McCann E-Investigations publishes case study on intellectual property theft in the oil field industry. “So much of the modern oil and gas business can be found in electronically stored information (ESI). Years of work can be downloaded and removed with a thumb drive making electronic intellectual property theft a real issue.” Stated Daniel Weiss, Partner at McCann E-Investigations. “The risk versus the reward to the unethical employee is sometimes too much to resist.” Weiss continued. In the area of fracking, with technology advancing daily and billions at stake, the issue of digital espionage has never been greater.

There are 2 forms of intellectual property theft; internal and external. External theft and the breach of network security will be discussed in the follow up to this cases study.

Internal theft is often conducted by someone who has access to new types of technology or access to the data supporting this technology. Networks that are not restricted or allow movement of data via thumb drives, external hard drives, or via email create a point in which data can leak out. In most companies, technology workflow is open sourced to facilitate collaboration on projects between team members. This is not an issue when employees understand that the work product is the property of the company.

However, it is not uncommon for employees to feel that they “own” the idea. In most cases, the company has the employee or subcontractor sign an agreement that clearly shows that the ideas that are developed during their employment or contract are the property of the company. The ability to “prove” that the digital intellectual property has been removed from the company computers, networks, or cloud drives becomes critical to proving the theft of intellectual property.

When it becomes clear that information has been leaked, it is key to that a computer forensics expert is brought in to investigate. Copying, capturing or altering the data by anyone in the company itself would cause the data to be deemed contaminated and not admissible in litigation. Courts in the State of Texas, and in general on a national basis, want to see that the evidence that has been harvested by a certified forensic provider. The most common certification accepted by the court in EnCase Certification.

Internal theft of critical IP can cause severe damage to a company. Investments can be decimated and the future revenue potentials lost in a simple download of data. McCann EI’s have practical oil and gas experience that allows us to be more effective in helping stem the loss and begin the process of recovery.

About McCann EI:

McCann EI's Texas-based digital forensics team provides a one stop solution for your Electronically Stored Information (ESI) investigative needs. McCann EI's computer forensics, digital forensics, and electronic discovery investigators serve law firms, private industry, and government with the same dedication and expertise that has had clients turning to McCann for over 25 years.

Call us toll-free at 800-713-7670

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Daniel Weiss
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