Francisco asked if his patterns, ones he designed and used in his garment-making business could be intellectual property (IP). Likely not.

These are some features of IP that help to explain why not – even though Francisco had clearly designed something beautiful and something that could be reused.IP is often based on patented concepts, therefore protected from anyone else making something similar.

.The patterns are not patented and likely would be difficult and costly to patent.

.It is rare to sell IP at a fixed price, usually the sale incorporates a royalty. Such a licensing agreement is designed to give 1/4 – 1/3 of the profit from the IP going to the licensor. You have seen the fashion runway shows where couture houses bring out their lovely designs for the season and throughout the audience folks are quickly sketching to take the new-season designs back to their own shop for knockoffs.

.IP is often sold on a negotiated price that can be influenced by ability to replicate, i.e. if the buyer can replicate for less than buying unprotected rights – why buy?

.The price of IP can be based on the future revolutionizing the original. Think of taking a patented propeller that takes one forward and then adding a new device that makes it also go up. When thinking of a dress…if you add a device that takes the woman skyward…perhaps then it could be sold.

“In some professional sectors there is little or no tradition for acquiring IP.  People would rather develop something else themselves or even infringe to get a reasonable price.”