Protecting Intellectual Property with In-house PCB Prototyping

Posted by on December 15th, 2015

Some of you may remember the days of sketching your breakthrough ideas for new products on a napkin at a diner or in a spiral-bound notebook on your desk. There it was – the fruit of your imagination on paper, which you kept in a safe place away from competitor’s eyes until you could push it through to production. Today, your imagination comes to life more often on a computer screen or tablet with a design schematic ready to send out to a third-party for rapid PCB prototyping.

Stop right there!

As soon as your schematics leave your hands, your new innovation could be easily copied to a flash drive and sold to the highest bidding competitor. Or your drawings could be photographed with a cell phone in a second. And an unscrupulous competitor gets it to market first. Paranoid? Maybe. But the theft of intellectual property in today’s Digital Age is a real and common threat to product innovation. All the more reason to keep each iteration of your design prototypes within the walls of your business until you’re ready to introduce your new product to market.

Having a rapid in-house PCB prototyping machine can provide a significant advantage in this case, because you no longer need to send out proprietary schematics and designs to an outside vendor for prototyping. Now, we’re not saying that third-party prototyping vendors are dishonest. Not at all. However, the more hands that your design schematics pass through – couriers, mail room, production floor, etc. – the more risk of them being lost, or in the worst case scenario, stolen or copied at some point along the way. Sure, you have to guard against insider corporate espionage, as well, but the risk to intellectual property theft is much lower when you have complete control over where the information is stored and how and by whom it is handled.

Bringing rapid PCB prototyping in-house is a wise investment for many reasons besides security. You can typically create a prototype in-house in less than an hour versus waiting two weeks for it to come back from a vendor. You can immediately make additional prototypes as soon as you make any design changes or error fixes, or even make multiple prototypes to instantly compare different designs. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination – and it’s your imagination that makes the intellectual property of your designs so valuable. Is it worth the investment in an in-house rapid PCB prototyping machine to protect your innovations from potentially prying eyes? We think so at LPKF.

Our customers have told us that our market-leading in-house PCB prototyping machines immediately helped them reduce prototyping time by one to two weeks or more. They’re also very happy with the precision, performance, and quality of our rapid prototyping machines. What’s most exciting to us is that customers tell us that our machines have helped them to drive a more innovative design culture – all the more reason to protect their intellectual property against theft by doing all prototyping work in-house.


Visit to learn more about our market-leading PCB milling machines and laser machines for rapid prototyping. Use our PCB System Selector wizard to help you choose the right LPKF system for your specific needs.