The expanding reach of intellectual property has introduced more and more possibilities for opportunistic litigation: suing to make a buck.

Sample trolls and patent trolls are business models who have developed as a result of this.

We live in an age with daunting problems.

We need the best ideas; we need them now; we need them to spread fast.

The common good is a meme that was overwhelmed by intellectual property.

Loss Aversion: we hate losing what we’ve got.

When we copy, we justify it. When others copy, we villify it.

Most of us have no problem with copying – as long as we’re the ones doing it.

Social Evolution: Copy, transform, and combine.

It’s who we are, it’s how we live, and of course, it’s how we create. Our new ideas evolve from the old ones.

But our system of law doesn’t acknowledge the derivative nature of creativity, instead ideas are regarded as property: as unique and original lots with distinct boundaries.

For almost our entire history ideas were free – the works of Shakespeare, Gutenburg and Rembrambt could be openly copied and built upon.

But the growing dominance of the market economy where the products of our intellectual labors are bought and sold produced an unfortunate side effect.

The ultimate word to own in the consumer’s mind is the name of the category itself. When this happens, your brand becomes a generic brand. Lawyers hate generic brands, but marketing people love them.

A widely held belief among clients that all graphic design is purchased on the ‘buyout’ principle. In other words, most commissioners imagine that once they have paid for a design, ownership passes to them. Designers need to have protection built into the terms and conditions they give to their clients, and they need to agree all usage rights before parting with work.

The rule of thumb is that if you create a brilliant brand name then it is bound to be registered somewhere. You have to be confident that the names you are presented are unrestricted and at this point you must have the names checked for availability in the relevant trademark categories. This can be initially done by the internet, and the searches can be free and quick.

My name is Milton Glazer; I’m a designer, and I spend my day pushing things around until they look good. That’s what I do.

Milton Glaser (best known for the  I ♥ NY logo)  during an interview with 99% Invisible.