At a trade fair, the head of a company discovers a machine developed by his own employees - but at the stand of a competitor, where the new item is proudly displayed. Looking through his company's inventory, he sees four new printers, even though he in fact ordered five. And to top things off, he's having problems with the state prosecutors, who say his firm is implicated in a bribery charge. His company, in short, has fallen victim to industrrial espionage - three times over.
Since 2001, some 61 percent of German companies have fallen prey to these or similar crimes. In 2013, by comparison, just 45 percent of German firms were entangled in such an affair. Those were the conclusions of a study conducted by business consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PCW) together with Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg (MLU). For the study, more than 600 German companies, each with at least 500 employees, were examined every two years.