"Many years ago, there was an Emperor, who was so excessively
fond of new clothes, that he spent all his money in dress. He did
not trouble himself in the least about his soldiers; nor did he
care to go either to the theatre or the chase, except for the
opportunities then afforded him for displaying his new clothes. He
had a different suit for each hour of the day; and as of any other
king or emperor, one is accustomed to say, 'he is sitting in
council,' it was always said of him, 'The Emperor is sitting in his
"Hans Christian Andersen probably would have been baffled by the
term 'intellectual property' even though he inadvertently wrote
about it. His story told of two con artists who fooled an emperor
into buying clothes made of material which would remain 'invisible
to everyone who was unfit for the office he held, or who was
extraordinarily simple in character.' In other words, they were
selling an idea. The thieves made a handsome profit before their
scheme was eventually exposed.
"Ironically, had they been alive today, the thieves could have
applied for a 'business process' patent from the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office, though another government agency would have been
responsible for prosecuting them for fraud. We live in a society in
which people claim the right to own ideas. In this Information Age,
the public has become familiar with intellectual property;
information ownership has become big business..."
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