Creative Dilemma

By Robert Cantrell

One of the least likely ways to succeed with IP may be to be an IP creator.  The reason for this is because of the highly speculative nature of idea creation.  It can leave the IP creator in a poor bargaining position before he creates a new solution, given the high probability that he will fail, and then in a poor bargaining position afterward given that his solution will be “out of the bag” at that point.  Certainly some IP creators score big – they may have stock options, they may be the best people to continue development, they may have taken the risk on their own anyway and so own the IP – it just makes for a potentially volatile and uncertain future.

The range of IP professions around the creative – attorneys, agents, and business developers – run the safer course.  In many ways their dynamic is not unlike the well-known fact that the people most likely to get rich during the California Gold Rush were the people that provided the tools for the prospectors, not the prospectors themselves.  Yet, you could not have any of it without those prospectors. 

I write about this based on an interesting conversation from some folks fairly recently out of the military who immediately grabbed onto this as a problem they could address on behalf of the IP creators.  Like any good military planners, however, as they researched the situation, they saw a daunting dynamic that did not have a straight-forward solution because of the math.  It takes an exceptional creative talent to allow the math to work in that individual’s favor.

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