Purpose ? In this paper we tried to apply some system theory in the complex problems of intellectual property management by presenting some relevant current issues regarding standards and possibilities of computer software protection. Systemic approach to involvement in lucrative business of software is examined, from the point of innovations incorporated within standards and software.Design/methodology/approach ? Two competing concepts are confronted: public accessible standards, and public exclusionary patents, both in the area of software development and software patenting. Actual examples of controversies are presented, and commented.Findings ? Patents are legalized monopolies. Monopolists exact higher prices than free market enterprises. Our results indicate that there needs to be balance between public interest in free access to technological information and monopolies. Owing to the lack of system theory applied in this problem solving processes the issues remain unsolved and also unclear to many involved in the process.Research limitations/implications ? More research in different fields of specialization and selected view points would be needed to present, understand and excellently manage this area of intellectual property to balance the advantage of general public benefits versus inventors. In this paper only some economic and legal views are presented.Practical implications ? Implications for managers strategies are discussed. Managers should take active role in standard setting, and software patenting. Public interest should be in influencing these developments and regulations.Originality/value ? The subject of standards and software is a less studied one and is becoming more important.
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