When Barbarians Attack Intellectual Property


During a seminar we co-organized with the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (Deposits and Consignments Fund), we discussed the impact of the digital revolution on Intellectual Property with entrepreneurs, lawyers and experts who are confronted to this question every day.


1 - Disruption in the value chain

It’s already been 15 years since Napster took over the entire music industry. This is no rare feat. In each and every industry, there are Barbarians who “attack” by finding their niche within the value chain. They build a close and direct relationship with their users, thus winning their hearts, before using this newly created bond to climb the value chain right to the top. The music industry learned it the painful way: the total addressable market lost 90% of its value in only a few years.

Napster was a peer-to-peer platform where you could share music with your friends. More specifically, it allowed people to listen to their favorite artists without buying their CDs. This has become commonplace today and is slowly becoming the norm, but at the time it was revolutionary. First, because the idea and the process were innovative, and second, because the majors rose up against Napster for breaching their copyrights.

2 - Intellectual property is a legal fantasy

This kind of conflict brought by digital innovation contributed to breaking the intellectual property legal fantasy. Indeed, the concept of intellectual property grants ownership to its holder over intangible goods. In other words, it allows you to own something you can’t possess. In reality, once you’ve spread your work, the public possesses it. IP is thus a legal fiction which aims to dispossess the public of a work: the work belongs to its author.

On top of that, IP is based on the scarcity of the goods it protects. While this may have been true 20 years ago, today it’s never been easier to create, publish and broadcast. Bertier of le Fabshop showed us how easy it is to scan any item with his Makerbots and then replicate it indefinitely using one of his 3D printers. This operation only took him a few minutes. If even tangible goods can be replicated, scarcity is no longer an excuse anymore.

3 - Traction is the new IP

However, IP as a protection has not yet disappeared: investors and entrepreneurs still consider IP as a valuable asset when it comes to the valuation of a company.

Conversely, everything tends to show that traction is the new IP. Patents aren’t the best obstacles or unfair advantages in a market: traction is the most important factor of growth for a startup. Tesla’s recent declaration testifies to this new paradigm. Tesla made all its patents publicly available so they don’t “lay intellectual landmines behind” their innovations.

At TheFamily, we think value creation doesn’t rely on jealously protected industrial secrets like the Big Mac sauce or Coca Cola’s last ingredient. Companies with exponential growth and a traction of millions of users have already adopted this open source strategy where product improvement matters, and not its protection.

You’ll find all the interventions and discussions online . 


And some nice photos.


HardAware #3 avec LocalMotion

imageNouvel édition du HardAware meetup, évènement mensuel ou se rencontrent entrepreneurs hardware et autres curieux autour de pitchs startups, talk tendance & invité surprise.

Pour ce meetup on a crafté une line-up assez éclectique :) 

Louis Chatriot de Local Motion : “Hardware et futur de la location de voiture P2P” avec une démo de la voiture ! 
Arthur Cassaignau de Sculpteo : ”Accélérer le passage du prototype à la production en série (impression 3D et sans impression 3D)”  
Matthieu Wipliez pour présenter Synflow  
Eric Le Bot pour présenter Lunii

Si vous voulez pitcher au prochain HardAware, si vous avez envie de voir un speaker en particulier, faites le nous savoir par ici !

Cliquez sur lire plus pour les vidéo & slides !

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