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Innovation Thought of the Day

From Andrew Thompson, Co-Founder and CEO, Proteus Biomedical, Inc.:

We have historically relied on patents as a way to encourage people to make innovations. As a company, our view is that that system is going away. Emerging economies have much less appetite for it. Businesses will have to respond by making it more difficult to compete, not because the government gives you monopoly, but because your business plan is complex enough that it is hard for competitors to copy it. We think that’s a better basis for competition, anyway.

I think we can interpret renewed interest in trade secrecy as one symptom of this development. But I am afraid that “complexity” here could just be replaced by “largeness” or “bargaining power.” Walmart exemplifies both the complex business plan advantage and the bigness model. It’s hard to disentangle how much each contributes to its success.