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In business, personal knowledge is recognised by giving patents and other intellectual property rights to the inventor of an idea. If a person has the virtue to call an invention his/her own then the market would be based on monopolies, which means that a certain good or service is only offered by one producer, enabling firms to increase prices to infinity. Nowadays, there are laws against these kinds of anti-competitive behaviour, nevertheless there are cases in which this right is legally given to a producer.
One of the most famous examples for fraud in the legal property right is the Smiley. Even though the happy face has first been used by a radio station, as promotional campaigns and employee-motivation, it was the french Franklin Loufrani who put a patent on this extraordinary symbol and thereupon, founded one of the world’s biggest license companies (Savage Jon, 2009). In this case, the intellectual property right was falsely granted to a candidate, who could not even provide evidence that the smiley was his invention.
On the other side, Research and Development is one of areas in which personal knowledge is of great importance. Legal property rights make it possible to keep inventions private. In the pharmaceutical industry patents are given for up to twenty years, since they keep invention in the industry flourishing. Patents give enterprises the right to be a monopoly, leading to abnormal profits, which is one of the main goals of every industry. Pharmaceutical concerns are motivated to invest into research and development in order to invent new drugs for which they can register a patent and achieve huge surpluses.
Legal property rights have their advantages and disadvantages, always depending on the context in which they are granted to a person. Personally, I believe patens are crucial for businesses to flourish, leading to economic development and an overall betterment of a society.
Interested in how the patent process works ? Click here !