a research project funded by the BMBF


Trustworthy exchange of intellectual property within the industry


The specific knowledge of SMEs and international corporations is existentially important within the respective industry. Companies often underestimate how much national and international competitors desire their internal knowledge base. As a result, one out of five German companies has suffered severe damage due to industrial espionage or has at least good reason to be suspicious. Medium-sized enterprises are hit particularly hard by professional digital attacks since they are not sufficiently protected. This kind of digital crime causes substantial damage to German economy and amounts to more than 50 billion euros annually.

Approach and goals

The BMBF-sponsored project VERTRAG (Vertrauenswürdiger Austausch Geistigen Eigentums in der Industrie) on the trustworthy exchange of intellectual property within the industry aims at comprehensively protecting business-related documents via reliable platforms. The project’s purpose is to counter economic damage by data theft proactively by providing organizational, legal and technical security. For specific application scenarios, the project considers the enterprise rights management (ERM) and identity management (IDM) of the automotive industry in Germany. Being a well-established and highly innovative industry sector that attracts investors, the automotive industry is a particularly popular target for industrial espionage. Taking an exemplary look at this industry reveals multiple and closely meshed supplier and value chains across different companies.

The main goals of the VERTRAG project include:

  • Protecting the exchange of joint technical documents within the IT infrastructure of the entire value chain for secure enterprise rights management (ERM)
  • Making platforms trustworthy by using trustworthy security anchors and identity management in the IT infrastructure
  • Developing and building a demonstrator to control the information flow throughout the entire life cycle of the data that needs to be protected
  • Performing a field test within a specific company network of the automotive industry
  • Investigating legal regulations, e. g. on risk distribution and liability
  • Creating guidelines for training programs and standardization

Project organization

VERTRAG is a joint research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and involves various expert partners from research and industrial fields. The BMBF is the project owner for this project. Rohde & Schwarz Cybersecurity is responsible for the project lead.

  • Project management: VDI Technologiezentrum GmbH
  • Consortium: Rohde & Schwarz Cybersecurity, ENX Association, ecsec GmbH, University of Stuttgart, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Saarland University
  • Associated partners: BMW AG, Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO), ProSTEP iVIP, TeleTrusT, German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI)
  • Project duration: 02/2015–02/2018
  • You can find further information on this project at

Request information

Do you have questions or need additional information? Simply fill out this form and we will get right back to you.

Marketing permission

Your request has been sent successfully. We will contact you shortly.
An error is occurred, please try it again later.