Protecting versus stifling innovation

A speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Board chair Alan Greenspan
By Alan Greenspan
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/12/2003

In a knowledge-based economy, the ownership of ideas becomes a key concern for businesses. U.S. Federal Reserve Board chair Alan Greenspan addressed the issue of intellectual property rights in a speech at the 2003 Financial Markets Conference of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta last month. The following is an excerpt.


nly in recent decades have issues related to the protection of intellectual property rights come to be seen as significant sources of legal and business uncertainty. Intellectual property is clearly more difficult to define and, hence, to protect. The physical property of one owner cannot occupy the same space as that of another. Ownership of physical property is capable of being defended by police, the militia or private mercenaries. Ownership of ideas is far less easily protected.