• Ipsa Raj

Industries without IP

Industries without IP

There are industries and products where copyright protection serves a small role ("Low-IP industries") despite the creative effort going into them (when compared to "High-IP industries" like movies, books and music).


Food industry (cannot copyright a recipe, or the look and feel of even the most unique dish) Automobiles (cannot copyright their sculptural design) Furniture Magic tricks Hairdos Open source software Databases Tattoo artists Jokes Fireworks displays The rules of games The smell of perfume Other examples include the financial industry (composition of mutual funds) or strategies in team sports like football or even dance moves.

Computer software

Many claim that if software could be copied freely, then software developers would have no incentive to create it. Note, however, that hardware manufacturers would have an incentive to support software development (and perhaps even give it away), since the availability of more and better software increases the demand for hardware. In few industries has there been such extensive innovation as in the software industry – and virtually none of the innovations in this industry took place with the protection of intellectual monopoly. Prior to the 1981 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Diamond vs Diehr, it was not possible to patent software at all and the current burst of patent lawsuits originates in the subsequent extension of patents to software products in the 1994 Federal Circuit Court ruling In re Alapat.

Not only did patents play no role in software innovation, copyrights played only a limited role. While computer programs were often copyrighted, in the early years of the PC industry, copyright was seldom respected or enforced. Microsoft made little effort either legal or technical to protect their "intellectual property" in their early creative days. It is in the 21st century that they invest their time and energy in the prevention of copying. The best evidence that copyright and patents are not needed and that competition leads to thriving innovation in the software industry, is its thriving and innovative portion developing open source software. Some computer game creators choose to release their games for free and still earn

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