A new battlefield: Ownership of ideas
In another era, a nation's most valuable assets were its natural resources - coal, say, or amber waves of grain. But in the information economy of the 21st century, the most priceless resource is often an idea, along with the right to profit from it.
This reality is transforming business and creating new diplomatic fault lines between continents. Some companies - Thomson of France, in consumer electronics, and BTG of Britain, in technology, for example - can make more money selling access to their ideas than from building anything themselves. The right to profit from a breakthrough idea can be so valuable that the contest over the concept can be more decisive than the competition for consumers, as Sony and Toshiba demonstrate in their tug of war over whose next-generation DVD patents will win out, long before the discs come to market. A new battlefield: Ownership of ideas - Technology - International Herald Tribune
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