Thursday 26 April 2012

Happy World IP Day

26 April is World IP Day.   Let's celebrate this momentous day when all should be pondering the great contribution that Intellectual Property makes to our society and civilisation. At the same time let's remember:
You can't own Information

Information or knowledge was made to be shared. It is a basic building block of civilisation and when we don't share and teach, knowledge and wisdom is lost and has to be rediscovered. The misunderstanding that you can own it leads to all sorts of trouble.
It leads to to wasteful treaties on traditional knowledge when all that is necessay is to give originators proper credit;
It leads to confusion as illustrated by this CNet story when Google Drive say they need a licence to copy your data for storage, which they do but it can and should be very limited indeed;
It leads to Force India believing it "owned" far more than it had kept secret and a court hearing before Mr Justice Arnold over 14 days and a 122 page judgement on 21 March 2012 very concisely summarised for commercial purposes here by Wragges;
It leads to the idea that just by paying a lawyer to spend time on patent searches you can avoid patent disputes;
It leads to the UK IPO failing to understand why many design based businesses get on with life and dont feel the need to protect their design work but allow it to be shared;
It leads to Twiter creating an Innovator's Patent Agreement so that it can obtain business method patents that it will not enforce

Countries including the UK do create Intellectual Property Rights that are usually limited in time and always in scope that allow their holders to control certain information. The idea is usually to facilitate investment and the wider disseminatation and use of the Information. If you use IP I do hope that its for the greater good of society and that you have a happy World IP Day.

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