Although intellectual property trends in several major American industries seem to suggest an increased focus on the acquisition and defense of patents, a more open and collaborative attitude toward IP management may be needed to drive the economy back from recession.
According to the Financial Times, the power of purely in-house innovation may be a particularly damaging myth. Although the triumph of the individual inventor may be a more romantic tale, some of the most popular innovations in recent memory have actually come as a result of mutually beneficial IP arrangements.
"Left to its own devices, Apple might never have come up with the iPod," noted FT columnist Louise Lucas. "The now-ubiquitous music player was the brainchild of one Tony Fadell, a former employee of Philips, whose concept failed to raise sufficient funding, prompting him to hawk it around established corporates."
Instead of designing patent strategy "with a view to preventing competitors from getting there first," Lucas noted the merits of more progressive IP management models.
Recent developments in the pharmaceutical industry may provide a case worth following, according to the Washington Times. With Pfizer losing patent protection for Lipitor - the world's best-selling medication - the industry is set for a period of rapid changes as smaller competitors and former powers make sense of the new landscape.