What value is there in creativity? Pieter Visagie – partner at Adams & Adams, specialising in patent and registered design law, comments…
In answering this question, I would suggest that one has to appreciate that any value that could reside in creativity, or creative talent, can only be realised by expressing that creativity. A shelved talent is, after all, devoid of content and therefore devoid of realised value. Like a light bulb in a box.
Creative expression can take many forms, including a unique work of art, a piece of furniture with a unique appearance suitable for reproduction, a literary or musical work, an invention of technical subject matter, etc.
One also has to appreciate, more importantly perhaps, that the act of creative expression, of ‘putting something out there’, is in its purest form more than a mere implementation of an academically acquired skill (although it could of course be amplified by such a skill). It is, from the creator’s perspective, however, also an act of ‘putting yourself out there’, suggesting that beyond the consistency of creative works, there is an underlying emotive content.
Consider whether it is not this emotive content that provides the voltage that drives those of us not blessed with a talent of creative expression, or lacking in the time to realise such expression, to purchase a unique work of art or even something as seemingly mundane, in its nature, as a piece of furniture? I believe it is so that we are, in the first instance, not drawn by the material quality of the work, if such quality is present, but by our identification with the emotive expression that the creator has captured in the work. And therein, for me, lies the value of creativity: The expression of emotive content in a material form.
If one considers the value of creativity in the terms suggested above, motivating protecting one’s creative works by means of instruments of intellectual property protection becomes more than merely a commercial matter. It now becomes matter of protecting what’s inside, when you put it out there. Although I cannot profess to know, I would imagine it to be more than a commercial injury to person blessed with a talent of creative expression to find his works of creative expression being copied, particularly if one takes into account the courage it often requires to put something out there for the public to judge.
Protect, therefore, what you have inside by protecting what you put out there. The tools are available. What’s up to you is to use them, doing so with the assistance of those who are not only knowledgeable in the field, but are also appreciative of the challenges of creative expression – we make it safer for what’s inside, out there.