The Greater Fool

Intellectual Property or Ineffectual Process

I attended a seminar discussing intellectual property and patent law
this week and the only logical conclusion I can come to is that IP
regulations are designed to squander innovation while padding the
coffers of patent lawyers. They are the only "winners" in any
scenario. There were discussions of "offensive" patent strategies,
"defensive" patent strategies. We were encouraged to spend tens of
thousands of dollars now in an effort to build a patent portfolio or
apply for provisional patents in a delaying strategy to prevent
spending millions of dollars in defending IP suits. Even the lawyers
that worked for the same organization operated as if we were the
enemy. I was reminded that I signed (or should have signed) a
confidentiality/non-compete agreement and that all works produced on
company equipment for the company belongs to the company.

As someone who works with IP on a daily basis, I find the entire
concept to be a waste of time. We spend untold resources in order to
work collaboratively but the moment that collaboration includes
someone outside the designated circle of trust, everyone starts
looking for a way someone to sue. I understand that I work under a
Pay for Play mechanism so that my work is for the benefit of the
company. I realize that the company makes more money off my Play than
they are paying me for it but come on! I feel that the software
industry (or maybe IT as a whole) is still young (naive?) enough to
believe in the power of community. After all, we have sites like
StackOverflow and CodePlex in addition to the hundreds of OSS projects
that get the support of the best and brightest of the industry. As
more money and bigger players gets involved you can be sure there will
be less and less sense of community. We do not have any unions or
collaborative bargaining agreements yet, but are they far from being
realized? I hope I'm wrong.