What is IP Geofencing?
May 25, 2023

IP Geofencing With Helix IPLM

Security & Compliance
IP Lifecycle Management

IP geofencing should be a central part of your IP strategy. Why? Because your IP portfolio is probably leaking. And IP leakage can cost millions of dollars in lost revenue and market setbacks — not to mention export violation fines

When it comes to IP security, you need a three-pronged approach:

  • Preventing IP leakage by implementing regional protections with IP geofencing.
  • IP security assurance: making sure your IP is not prone to hacking and other malicious activity.
  • The secure transfer of IP through the use of blockchain.

This blog will focus on the first pillar listed above: IP geofencing.

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What Is IP Geofencing?

IP geofencing is a security measure that restricts IP availability by geography, regardless of a user’s access permissions. Think of it as a virtual perimeter around a given location. 

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Why Geofencing Is Important For IP Portfolios

IP portfolios can be massive. With portfolios of such size, protective measures need to be put into place to prevent leaks. These leaks may be the result of malicious intent, but they can also be accidental. Either way, you need to do everything you can to make sure they don't happen.

Organizations need to ensure that they are able to protect IP via use models. This entails user permissions, where certain individuals may only have read access to IP, others may only have write access to it, etc.

Additionally, IPs need to have geographic protections, particularly in today's uncertain geo-political climate. Security restrictions on semiconductor technologies can shift rapidly, and the penalties for IP export violations are severe. Protecting IP will become even more important for the semiconductor industry in the future.

So it's critical that IPs do not get transferred to parts of the world where they are restricted. This geographic protection needs to overrule user permissions, so that even if somebody has access to the IP, they cannot access it from restricted regions — for example, when they are traveling.

🤔 Wondering how you can maintain the global security of your design assets and keep up with changing restrictions — without negatively impacting already stretched design teams and schedules?
Watch the on-demand webinar: IP Security Infrastructure in an Uncertain World >>

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How to Prevent Leaks With IP Geofencing

Start With Strong Access Controls

Before you even get into geofencing, IP security requires a strong foundation in access controls. If you're using multiple, disjointed systems across your organization for access controls at the IP level, you will likely struggle to effectively and comprehensively manage IP permissions. To secure strong IP security controls, you need a single, centralized place to to view and manage both project and file access permissions — a “permissions hub.”

In the permissions hub, you need to ensure that:

  • Each IP has the correct view, read, write, or owner permissions.
  • Regional permissions can be applied to the IP.
  • Metadata is also protected with the same fine-grained permissions.

Then You Can Implement Regional IP Geofencing

With this foundational support, you can now start looking at how you protect your IP around the world. IP geofencing allows companies to define specific regions of the world and assign regional IP protections to their portfolio. This keeps the IP from both accidental and malicious export to regions where that IP cannot move to.

The reason this is important is because of the hierarchical nature of IP. You might build a piece of IP that can be exported, but if you unintentionally include in your IP tree a small piece of IP that is protected, you may run the risk of exporting protected IP because it is part of a larger tree.

The solution to stopping this unintentional leakage is by promoting restrictions throughout the IP hierarchy: if there is protected IP in the hierarchy, Helix IPLM has the ability to apply this restriction within the larger system. 

But What About Collaboration?

Despite the critical need to keep your IP secure, you still have to allow for collaboration among globally distributed teams. There may be individuals in other design groups that do not have access to certain IP, but still need to collaborate on a larger design. How do you enable this collaboration while maintaining the appropriate restrictions of the IP? And how do you do this without slowing down your already stretched design teams and schedules?

Helix IPLM (formerly Methodics IPLM) has the ability to build "partial" workspaces, which contain all the IP a given designer has access to, while excluding any restricted IP. These workspaces can seamlessly handle “missing” IPs due to geo restrictions. That is, the workspace can be functional even when parts of its expected contents are not available due to IP restrictions.

So your globally distributed design teams can continue to collaborate with other designers around the world – without compromising IP security.

See how Helix IPLM leverages IP geofencing as part of a three-pronged approach to securing your IP.
Watch the webinar: IP Security: Protecting Your Most Important IP Assets With Helix IPLM >>

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Leverage IP Geofencing Today

Protecting your IP requires a comprehensive system and strategy; it cannot be solved by any single action. IP geofencing builds on foundational IP security by adding regional restrictions for IP availability, regardless of the user's access permissions.

Find out why 9 out of 10 leading semiconductor companies trust Perforce Semiconductor Solutions for IP security and traceability. 

Connect with our IP security experts today to learn more about IP geofencing in Helix IPLM.


Note: This blog was originally published in May, 2021 and was updated for accuracy in May 2023. 

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