Industrial Espionage


DEFINITION of 'Industrial Espionage'

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).

  1. Trade Secret

    Any practice or process of a company that is generally not known ...
  2. Non-Competition Agreement

    A legal agreement in which one party is restricted from working ...
  3. Intellectual Property

    A broad categorical description for the set of intangibles owned ...
  4. Proprietary Technology

    A process, tool, system or similar item that is the property ...
  5. Patent

    A government license that gives the holder exclusive rights to ...
  6. Corporate Social Responsibility

    Corporate initiative to assess and take responsibility for the ...
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