Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Patent vs. Open Source

Patent is a European (including USA) development in order to give special right to an inventor or company for a specific invention. First patents was issued in Europe in mid of 1400 but the actual boom started in the beginning of 1800. In the start of 19th century most of the European countries provided protection of an innovation with state laws. The first International treaty was signed in 1883 (Paris Convention) in order to provide protection across the boarders. Patent system is used for monetizing the inventions but at the same time it restrict the distribution of knowledge and technology.

Open Source on the other hand is a system used in the history for distributing knowledge. There was no patents for inventions done in China like paper, Arabs like algebra or by Indians like Cotton Gin.

The future will be more Open Source than current close system approach of IPOs. The main reason is the culture difference of new world powers (China, India) from European way of life. Culturally the people living in China, India, Brazil or other emerging markets are more open to share. For Example in India and China the cost of a Book is a cost of copying it with photo copy machine and cost of Software is the cost of copying a CD. The IPO model of innovation will not work in these communities. The innovation in these countries will be open and the speed of innovation will be accelerated due to the free availability of knowledge.

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