When Theft Trumps Innovation

Aug 27, 2013

For years, Strategic News Service (SNS) publisher and KPLU technology commentator Mark Anderson has been warning of the dangers of intellectual property theft.

Initially, Mark focused on how IP theft is affecting the technology sector. But now, he sees it wreaking havoc throughout the entire economy.

His recent SNS article, "The Big Shift," which has also been posted at Forbes, explains how "we're moving from an era where inventions paid off to an era when copying and theft makes more money."

Look at PC pioneer Hewlett-Packard.

HP's PC business is on the decline. Its fiercest competitor is China's Lenovo, which, with its 1 percent profit margins, is now selling more PCs than HP.

Even Apple, the tech champ of the past decade, is at risk. 

Apple's innovation set the stage for the smartphone industry as we know it today. But now Apple is losing market share to Android. 

Mark says, "Apple's really failing in this fight. People copy Apple every day. They copy their trademarks, they copy the designs, they copy the features, they copy the software. ... Sometimes they get copied before they can even release their own devices."

The winning business strategy today seems to be to copy the innovators and put them out of business.

But what happens when there's no one left to copy or steal from?

Mark isn't optimistic. It's a short-term win for the thieves, but nobody wins in the end.

Mark goes into greater detail in The Big Shift: The End of the Era of Great Invention at forbes.com.