What is 'Industrial Espionage'

Industrial espionage is the theft of trade secrets by the removal, copying or recording of confidential or valuable information in a company for use by a competitor. Industrial espionage is conducted for commercial purposes rather than national security purposes (espionage), and should be differentiated from competitive intelligence, which is the legal gathering of information by examining corporate publications, websites, patent filings and the like, to determine a corporation's activities.

BREAKING DOWN 'Industrial Espionage'

Industrial espionage describes covert activities, such as the theft of trade secrets, bribery, blackmail and technological surveillance. Industrial espionage is most commonly associated with technology-heavy industries, particularly the computer and auto sectors, in which a significant amount of money is spent on research and development (R&D).

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  1. What are the risks of using CI (competitive intelligence) for espionage?

    Learn about the primary risks involved in performing corporate espionage and how to differentiate between espionage and competitive ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are some common methods of gathering CI (competitive intelligence)?

    Read about some common methods of acquiring competitive business intelligence, and discover what a good intelligence analysis ... Read Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between CI (competitive intelligence) and competitive analysis?

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  4. What is the difference between business intelligence and competitive intelligence?

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