Abstract: The Piranha Solution® is a complex and valuable integrated chemical supply inventory management system protected as a trade secret by its asset holder, the Confluence Corporation. The Piranha program is the lifeblood of the corporation’s growth and success in the chemical supply industry. A common definition of trade secret is “any information you don’t want your competitors to have,” and this statement couldn’t be truer for the much sought after Piranha Solution®. The advantage of a trade secret is the potential to keep unique details of an invention a secret forever, as opposed to alternative protections such as a patent, which require public disclosure. But in order to retain assets as trade secrets, the holding company must take “reasonable steps” to insure the security and secrecy of undisclosed, unique details. These steps for Intellectual property security inevitably include a computer and information system component, especially when the asset is digital, as is the case with the Piranha Solution®. In this case, while Confluence Corporation appropriately focuses on, and continuously monitors for, external threats to the Piranha Solution®, internal threats that may compromise the system are largely ignored. Failure to take proper precautions to protect their assets, a not uncommon business scenario, will ultimately be disastrous for the company. How to identify and avoid missing these important issues, and what reasonable steps may be taken to protect corporate intangible assets, is the focus of this case study based on actual events known to the authors.
Keywords: Intangible Assets, IS Policy and Protection, IS Security, IS Strategy and Management, Trade Secrets
Download this article: ISEDJ - V15 N2 Page 48.pdf
Recommended Citation: Ladwig, C., Schwieger, D., Clayton, D. (2017). The Piranha Solution: Monitoring and Protection of Proprietary System Intangible Assets . Information Systems Education Journal, 15(2) pp 48-51. http://isedj.org/2017-15/ ISSN: 1545-679X. (A preliminary version appears in The Proceedings of EDSIG 2016)