Intellectual Property in the Innovation Economy


Today there is a big scare that bad people will run off with your intellectual property and make a ton of money with it. Another problem is that the Patent system is so slow and so expensive that the vast majority of innovators simply do not have access to patent protection – many people just keep their ideas secret. This happens in corporations where your ideas are used to advance the careers other people. Often the dominant strategy is to not innovate or keep your ideas secret.

The trend toward open sourcing and crowd sourcing is a real option in the Innovation Economy where Social Network are self regulating. In fact, these articles reference Wikipedia – a community source of definitions.

In practice, If I do dirty deals of Craig’s List, for example; people know where I live….or I get flagged. EBay, for example, produces relatively little to earn their 30B market cap except protect their social accountability system – the EBay feedback mechanism rewards high integrity and punished low integrity. The hallmark of the Web 2.0 is the user generated content as well as the user generated vetting of the content.

This is significant. The efficiency of any market is directly related to the efficiency of the vetting mechanism by rewarding high integrity and punishing low integrity; the FAA vets the airline industry, checks and balances vets democratic government, and the FICO score vets the consumer credit markets. Likewise, things go horribly wrong when the vetting mechanism fails; the accounting profession after Enron, and the sub prime mortgage crisis after loose lending practices, etc. The battlefields of business are littered with similar examples.

In an Innovation Economy, the secret sauce for the production of innovation is far more valuable than any single innovation itself.  The secret sauce provides a monopoly on dynamic repeatability rather than some static device. As such, patents can be open-sourced and innovation crowd sourced across a much wider domain of user applications.  Such conditions will change the type of innovations that are favored to reflect the broad and sweeping social priorities rather than innovations that are easy to patent, protect, and monopolize – and fear for one’s IP being stolen.    Bad people cannot steal your intellectual capital, your social capital, or your creative capital – it is yours, you own it and you have the social network to prove it.

Ownership is the key ingredient of entrepreneurship – everyone owns the innovation economy.

In fact, the objective of innovation economics is for people to take your ideas and make money with them – then give you some of it. Your income arises from collecting royalty payments on your ideas and participation of many ventures. If someone does not play fair, their access to intellectual property and the Percentile Search Engine can be curtailed just like access to credit can be curtailed in modern finance. Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest to play fair; you may cheat, but only once.

Social Networks are largely self-regulating; no government, Industry, or management is needed. This is efficiency, scaleability, and multiplicity all in one!

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