Never ask a hairdresser if you need a haircut. And never ask a lawyer if you need to protect your ideas.
Intellectual property (IP) is often the first thing people want to discuss when exploring open innovation. It’s something we at 100%Open know quite a bit about and we have developed a range of tools to effectively manage IP (e.g. innovation airlocks). IP is also something I have first hand experience of with a few patents, trademarks and copyrighted material to my name accumulated over the years.
So when Nico Macdonald asked me to talk about intellectual property and innovation to his current class of students at Ravensbourne College of Art and Design last week, it forced me to think a bit harder about what I believe is important about the role of IP which I summarise as follows:
Three sectors that are changing fast and experimenting with new approaches to intellectual property include the following:
As it stands most investment in intellectual property exists to make lawyers or corporations wealthy. Most smaller and innovative companies are better off by being simply faster, more creative and noisier.
In our experience, if you want to remain globally competitive then the goal must always be to strive to continually create value things, and to build genuinely reciprocal relationships. Of course it is useful to get lots of advice, including legal advice, along the way. And always be thinking about creating a portfolio of tangible and intangible assets along the way. But trust your instincts on what you really need to protect and give the rest away.
In summary, instead of the traditional expensive and slow process of protecting your ideas, openness is often the best way to both defend and attack a new market when launching new products and services.