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The team will be tasked with better protecting U.S. IP from data theft; it will also issue and oversee new policies around data rights and how military IP is allocated in the DoD's contracting and acquisition stages.
The Pentagon is set to debut a new program this fall focused on developing departmental intellectual property (IP) best practices around how it handles data and IP from defense contractors.
In a press conference last week, Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, outlined plans to have a group in place by as early as October to develop DoD policy “within the whole of government effort” to address data rights concerns.
"We need to go on the offense to protect our technology versus merely acting defensively," Lord said at the briefing.
According to Holland & Knight, a law firm that specializes in data privacy, data rights, and cybersecurity litigation, it's likely the new group will help DoD acquisition experts interpret and apply IP laws, regulations, and policies.
The group, according to reports, will also work on solving the increasing threat of intellectual property theft by China.
A CNBC survey carried out earlier this year, polling 23 companies that are part of its Global CFO Council, found that 1 in 5 corporations had IP stolen by China over the last year. Last year a Washington Post report detailed how hackers working for the government of China managed to infiltrate a Navy contractor to steal data on a supersonic missile. Among the 614 gigabytes of data stolen included information on signals, sensors, and the Navy submarine development unit’s electronic warfare library.
The creation of the group was partially spurred by Congress, which passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) almost two years ago.
Under the law the Secretary of Defense, acting through the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, needs to develop policy around how IP is licensed.
According to section 802(b) of the NDAA, which outlines the creation of the group, the DoD needs to "ensure a consistent, strategic, and highly knowledgeable approach to acquiring or licensing intellectual property by providing expert advice, assistance, and resources to the acquisition workforce on intellectual property matters, including acquiring or licensing intellectual property.”
It's still too early to tell exactly who will comprise team but it’s likely to include intellectual property experts from the DoD itself as well as those across the industry, military, and Joint Staff.