The sky is falling because of app clones!

Or so says the new post from Jason Slater.  I bring this up only because this line of thinking runs deep in many industries.  So many people believe that the copying of an idea is true theft.  If that was the case, then why are there so many business books?  Why aren’t companies out there suing because their competitor’s commercials are too similar to their own?  Why would more than one company run Android on their phone in the first place?

No- copying of ideas is a time honored and respected tradition.  Just look around the CRE space.  When we see our competitors successfully use a new delivery model, technology, pricing strategy or negotiation tactic it will almost immediately by adopted by others and quickly spread through the industry.  New ideas are rare and precious and never left for our competitors to capitalize on without us jumping on quickly.

The general issue with copying ideas is the “I thought of it first” problem.  People hate for their ideas to be popular without them reaping the reward (or at least credit) for it.  However, rarely are ideas truly sprung from the void whole, complete and original.  Most come from years of experience having the same problem and then adapting various external solutions to a new use case.  Poof, you have a new solution.

Yes, it’s an issue if in not only copying the idea someone also copies the form, marketing materials, product design, etc.  That’s now entering into real copyright infringement.  And in the article’s defense, this copying of expression is the main point of discussion.  But the undertone is still there going after the idea of copying in general.

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