The mouse and graphic interface were first commercialized on Macintosh computers. Yet, Steve Jobs is said to have derived both from the Alto computer developed by Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. While Jobs became a billionaire, "Xerox completely failed to get into the personal computer business, missing one of the biggest business opportunities in history."
Preferring to be more akin to Apple than to Xerox, firms are increasingly mindful that their most valuable assets are apt to be ideas and information instead of land, buildings and inventory. Not capable of being fenced in or locked up, intangible assets can be protected when they are converted into patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets -- collectively intellectual property (IP).
Field, Thomas G. Jr, "Converting Intellectual Assets into Property" (2002). Law Faculty Scholarship. 396.
Copyright Franklin Pierce Law Center 2002. Al rights reserved.