Monday, July 10, 2006

Intellectual Property as Collateral

I'm well aware that the concept of 'intellectual property' is complex and is the subject of entire courses at the college level. But one thing that really bugs me is how differently 'intellectual property' is treated and valued in different places.

Houses... well they of course have different values in different parts of the country, but there seem to be some pretty consistent standards at play when it comes to "placing a value' on a house. Intellectual property is another matter. It is much more difficult, apparently, to assign a value using consistent means.

But - to the heart of the matter - a business in the midwest can raise business capital if it has "real" property as collateral. Even if that "real" property is twenty unused drill presses bolted to a concrete floor in an unused plant. But if the business has access to a concretely-realized idea, lets say in the form of some computer software or patented database - well sorry, Charlie, but that's 'intellectual property' and it can't be treated as collateral.

Doesn't seem like that logic has held back folks in Research Triangle Park or Silicon Valley, but that mindset has prematurely killed off many business start-ups in the midwest over the past decade. Maybe our own "rules" are starting to strangle new business opportunities...


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