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I2A lightsIf your ideas could be easily and inexpensively protected and then monetized that would revolutionize how you could live in the knowledge economy. No longer would you be required to spend the money and time needed to perfect a patent that today may have a very short shelf life. There is an alternative. This new alternative is based on laws from the Renaissance and Middle Ages. What is old is now new again. With this old alternative and new technology, ideas can be brought to market more quickly and potentially produce value longer for their authors because there is no time limit on them. 

I2A cokeFor example, Coca-Cola has protected the mystery of its signature beverage for over 130 years. It is often thought to be the longest-protected commercial secret in modern times. Other famous mysteries are the Google search algorithm, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's Big Mac Secret Sauce, Listerine mouthwash, WD-40 cleaning lubricant, and the New York Times Best Seller List. None of these products or services are patented, but all are closely guarded mysteries because they have great commercial value. But there is a significant expense and risk in managing these mysteries under the present means. This solution isn't what we are suggesting.

Creating valuable knowledge appears to be made of at least two essential elements. The knowledge and the mechanics of the application create an artifact benefit. 

I2A KUHThat simple statement is the foundation of all human progress across the ages. It is the basis of art, science, and law expressed in myriad cultures across the Earth. This social contract is based on changing the physical and emotional environments in a way mankind finds beneficial. 

Over time mankind has created social structures to help them live together. One of these was the concept of property law. Different cultures have different systems worked out, but all of them recognize the principle of personal property and have value trading systems to allow a positive growth of the social fabric based on personal property rights. In the Western world that property was embodied in a part of the law that dealt with ideas. Article One of the U.S. Constitution provides  “securing for limited Times to…Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective … Discoveries” The Founders wanted to protect certain ideas in a way that encouraged humans to do the hard work of discovering how to make life easier. Patent filings increased in the early Industrial Revolution. The patent provided a monopoly, for a period of time, to someone for a specific discovery of unique properties or processes. These unique properties are expressed as "claims." It is the job of the government granting the monopoly to determine if the claim has ever been made before. If it is not a unique claim a patent cannot be issued since the knowledge is already known generally, or is protected by an active patent. 

But there is I2A Master sealanother kind of knowledge that humans have always known about. It predates the modern concept of the patent, it is the mystery or secret. A mystery is the kind of knowledge stonemasons passed down through their guild as a closely guarded secret within the body of the workers’ craft guild. The same was true for weavers, dyers, printers, and a host of other craft guilds for centuries. After a time more and more humans were involved in the crafts and the knowledge seeped out and became more commonly known and the unique advantage of the guild diminished to the point many of them disappeared. However, as long as the secret is maintained, a unique value from the secret rises from the scarcity of knowledge. 

In a social context, humans were willing to exchange some kind of value for the unique knowledge of the mason, weaver, and printer. Today the same type of value is exchanged in multiple knowledge domains. But humans don't have an easy and effective method to protect their life's knowledge in a way that provides them any significant economic support. If they publish their knowledge, they might be able to extract some value through publishing, as was true in the past.  Publishing was limited in the past by the labor needed to print words and images on a printed page. Now anyone can be a publisher very inexpensively by electronic means. Inversely, easier access and a flood of information have lowered the value of published information. Once again it isn't just having access to valuable information but having the know-how to apply the knowledge that produces the value. The mystery becomes the catalyst for value. To realize the value of this intangible property we need a new form of protection.

I2A printerFrom a market standpoint, there is a unique aspect to these mysteries not shared by the state-granted monopoly, or patent. If you have it and you made it, it is yours and if someone exchanges value for it, then you can legally accept that value, immediately. 

These mysteries are only infringed on when someone has a protected secret, and they license that secret to someone else for their exclusive use, and then the new party violates that license. Another loss happens when it can be proven that there was a deliberate theft of documents or knowledge containing the essence of the secret. Obviously, secrets are only valuable as long as they remain out of public knowledge, known by only one or a few people.

Maintaining the secret is easier if the process of the secret can be contained and what is sold is the “Result,” otherwise some portion of the secret may need to be disclosed. Depending on how much of the  asset has to be revealed increases the risk of losing the secret aspects of the “Result.” The potential value and difficulty in discovering and marketing the “Result” will have an impact on the value of the asset. US courts have established personal property rights in the trade secret and now protection similar to physical property most of the states in the US recognize trade secrets [Uniform Trade Secrets Act  1979 & 1985]. The Uniform Law Commission defines the Trade Secret as "...information of commercial value. The form of that information can be exceedingly variable. Key to the need for protection is the fact that the information is not generally known to others and is not readily ascertainable by proper means."I2A Valut

So any information that may be of some commercial or social value can be thought of as personal property. As long as there is a willingness to exchange value for the application of knowledge to get a particular “Result,” there is a market for these assets. They already have a place in our everyday lives, but they are difficult to manage. We have addressed that problem by unlocking a method of securely managing the secret property without disclosure while creating a lending method to effectively trade value across any jurisdiction and for any given time. With this new method, trade secrets law becomes the new lever to unlock the creative forces of mankind. This is your father's mystery, and it is your new Intangible Asset to expand your business!

First published in 2018 by the 867 Foundation, used with permission of the publisher.

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