Cravath’s Been Hacked: Are IP Firms a Major Target?

Cravath reported that hackers had breached the firm’s website, according to the NYT in a story here.  I’d assume it was someone who wanted to get access to key financial information in order to use it for illicit purposes.  An IP firm can, of course, possess some significant proprietary information — trade secrets, product designs, and other business information that could be of use to competitors, stock manipulators, and others.

Most firms, of course, are aware of their ethical obligations to take reasonable precautions to secure client confidences, no doubt in part because the standard of care requires it, hacks are public knowledge, and in fact the FBI issued a warning several years ago on this point.  But a Citigroup report dated almost exactly one-year ago said that lawyers still were behind the curve, and articles specific to IP firms (such as this one, calling IP firms the low-hanging fruit compared to the USPTO’s data) are out there also signaling warnings.

The Cravath incident hopefully will bring more attention to this topic and to the need some IP firms may have to act.


About David

Professor of Law, Mercer University School of Law. Formerly Of Counsel, Taylor English Duma, LLP and in 2012-13, judicial clerk to Chief Judge Rader.