The purpose of this paper is to examine legal opportunities to develop creativity and innovation in a knowledge‐based economy.
This paper approaches legal issues from the perspective of the knowledge holder who is, more often than not, an individual in possession of some creative output that may potentially be of interest to a knowledge acquirer that is, more often than not, a business. The scope is limited to legal constraints and control mechanisms currently in use that restrict or discourage knowledge holders from achieving full creative potential, with the hope of encouraging further research on how to achieve the promise of a knowledge‐based economy. It is also limited, from a legal perspective, to US laws, with reference to a few international treaties.
While conducting research for this paper, it was found that, although there is a plethora of technological means that attempt to codify and harness innovation and encourage creativity, some legal mechanisms may be out‐moded and cumbersome. This is not to say that existing regimes, like intellectual property law, are useless, but that they are designed to take advantage of brick and mortar inventions that have little in common with the products and services being considered for the future.
It is anticipated that there will be a sea‐change in traditional thought about laws relating to knowledge and rights management. Historically, knowledge holders have been at a disadvantage when negotiating with knowledge acquirers. Now that the commodity is knowledge, knowledge holders have a unique opportunity to reveal, or not, to their own advantage. The goal of this paper is to identify alternative scenarios to encourage the flow of information to the benefit of knowledge holders as well as knowledge acquirers.
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