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Illustration by Security Management

U.S. Intellectual Property at Risk

Foreign governments are making organized efforts to co-opt ideas and scientific discoveries made by academics and scientists at American universities, U.S. federal officials said this week at a conference.

The officials included representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Science Foundation (NSF), who spoke at the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities in San Diego on Monday, according to reporting from Inside Higher Ed.

An official from NIH said the agency had identified at least 120 scientists at 70 institutions that had in failed to fully disclose substantial contributions from other organizations, including foreign governments, failed to disclose financial conflicts of interest, diverted proprietary information, or sent information from the peer-review process to other countries, according to the reporting.

The NIH official also discussed a Chinese government program in which Chinese scientists working at U.S. universities are told not to report their intellectual property discoveries to their U.S. institutions. One of the goals of the program is to have the Chinese scientists extract information from their employer and then move their labs to China.

The official from DOE discussed some of the organized efforts by countries such as Russia and China to divert technology and other innovations from their work at American universities back to their home countries.

For more information on intellectual property security, see the Security Management article “Trade Secrets 2.0.”