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The Biggest Money Maker?

The Biggest Money Maker?

Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame explains in this short 1.23 minute video that his biggest money maker is intellectual property.

A book that he writes requires zero investment. He sells the manuscript to a publisher and gets paid for it. Additionally, he makes about $600,000 in monthly royalties from book sales of Rich Dad Poor Dad.

From my article understanding IP rights it’s clear that value lies in intellectual property.

When you write something, design something, or create anything such as a business or recipe or innovation that exists in the world, your IP rights contain the value.

Bill Gates had the foresight to ensure he secured the rights in the DOS operating system software that he wrote for IBM.

To quote the Guardian IBM's failure to secure exclusive rights to Gates's software is often regarded as a blunder comparable to that of the music executives who spurned The Beatles.

The strength of IP is that an unlimited number of people can "consume" it. It doesn’t get depleted. For example, a book may be reproduced in various ways and translated into many languages. So it can be accessed by an infinite number of people. Each time there’s a sale the author gets a royalty.

However, that very strength of IP is also its weakness. Being intangible, IP is difficult to protect against theft. Owners of traditional property like land or goods, can readily protect their property with locks, or by surrounding them with a robust fence or even by hiring armed guards.

By contrast with intellectual property there’s little you can do to stop misuse of it. Beyond securing your rights through registration, enforcing your rights against third parties is the only practical step you can take to protect your IP turf and keep competitors at bay. 

People may not have the resources to get into disputes but if an asset is successful, it’s likely generating an income to justify dedicating resources to enforcing your rights in it.

Generally, theft of IP plagues the successful. When you have less success people are less likely to copy you. If they do copy you, it might be opportunistic, but it could just be coincidental. Hence why it’s so important to protect your rights through registration, if it’s a right that’s optional to register. 

What would make your journey with IP a lot easier is to consider brand protection when you’re first designing your business. Don’t regard IP as something you’ll get round to as and when you’re successful. It might be too late by then. 

You can create a business and brand that’s less likely to be copied, even if you’re successful, if you develop your IP with brand protection as an intrinsic consideration. The choices you make when you first turn your ideas into IP determine how likely you are to encounter disputes.

Paradoxically, failing to enforce your rights makes them weaker. And by contrast, those who vigorously enforce their rights enlarge the scope of their protection. That’s how Addidas has gained monopoly rights over 3 stripes. 

Have you needed to take steps against third parties?  I’d love to know more about your experiences enforcing your IP rights.