It frustrates me to no end that the path of the small innovator is extremely dangerous. Idea vultures - attorneys in wait for an innovation to hit the tipping point, threaten entrepreneurialism. It is in large part why I have moved into the corporate sector. The cost of defending an idea in a US court is too high. Pending legislation may change this soon, but in the long run a different strategy will be needed.
Globalization will affect intellectual property rights well beyond the projections of current economists. Just as nationalism is stronger than democracy, the western worlds ability to enforce rights management will ultimately fail. It is a cultural notion that can be disrupted by counterfeiting technologies, and even the most scrutinizing of ethical consumer cannot be assured of buying the “real” thing.
So when the complete lack of “idea protection” is global, the power will be in the ability to make use of an idea faster, better and in the right location. This will require a constant and tireless effort. The arrogant and complacent will certainly not be able to compete.