The competitiveness of German enterprises in general and the mechanical and plant engineering industry in particular largely depends on their abil-ity to protect their research findings and methodo-logical competence. Competition is increasingly global, intense and tough. Thus, companies not only face a challenge but a commitment to protecting their products and essential know-how. Offenders often remain invisible; the threat seems to be an abstract one. However, once a counterfeit product has been produced and put on the market and once core know-how has been tapped, the consequences will become painfully obvious by losing one's market leadership and experiencing declining market shares or narrowing competitive margins. VDMA therefore established a working group on product and know-how protection (»AG Protect-ing«) as part of its strategy against product piracy. The working group is a melting pot of the technology and service providers' interests in product and know-how protection.