John Diaz-Barriga

Program Director, Food for Thought

This conversation is closed.

Under what conditions should we allow someone to have ownership of an idea?

If I were to come up with a great idea, shouldn't I be allowed to own it and keep it to myself and reap its benefits? I mean, it was my idea after all!

I think this question is especially appropriate for the TED community.

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    Nov 30 2011: Under every condition ............
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      Nov 30 2011: " Under every condition" is the most complete and right answer. I couldn't have wrapped up the answer to this question any better. Thanks Salim !! :-):-)
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      Nov 30 2011: Okay, so let's assume for a moment that I've gotten an idea on how to cure an epidemic. Because I alone came up with the idea, I should be allowed to keep it to myself and issue it at my own jurisdiction?
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        Nov 30 2011: Owning something does not mean it should /can't be shared. Even TED slogan is about spreading which doesn't mean ownership gone.
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          Nov 30 2011: This is true, but should someone not share their patented idea –such as a cure– do we allow them to maintain ownership?

          I think you're referring to credit, rather then ownership.
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        Nov 30 2011: Sorry I didn't get you possibly, what benefit it will bring whether it is an idea of cure or anything else (it seems you are talking about discovery or invention but that all starts with idea generation) unless it is being shared ?

        Unless shared neither people will know about it.......I am talking about ownership.......for some ideas giving credit also is in way ensuring ownership......though actual ownership can be given after execution of idea in to tangible / intangible results

        Once it is patented idea , it's already known and protected..... could not get the IDEA behind, of not sharing patented IDEA....,.

        Can you please clarify ?
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    Nov 30 2011: If an idea is exclusively owned with the additional desire to reap benefits from it, then it becomes a commodity; something sold and bought.

    I don't think TED is about "commodities worth spreading".

    Ideas at their embryonic stage should be shared (as here on TED), because sharing helps with refinement and focus.

    There should be no presumption towards ownership or to reap benefits from any idea, until it gets to the point where you have had to spend money to progress it, say, from idea to patented working prototype.
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    Nov 30 2011: you can keep it secret, if you want. but ideas are not scarce once created. it can be copied simply by telling. and if i copy it, it is not any more your idea. it is a copy of it. in addition, what if someone else also gets the same idea?
  • Nov 30 2011: How can you own something that does not exist? If you have a practical idea you can patent it if it qualifies but you cannot own it.