Stephen Wolfram Q&A

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Some collected questions and answers by Stephen Wolfram

Questions may be edited for brevity; see links for full questions.

September 30, 1996

From: Interview by Robers Lee Hotz, Los Angeles Times

Over the years, you always have been unusually careful to spell out your rights to any intellectual property. How important are patents and copyrights?

One of the things that people often forget about intellectual property and its ownership is that the formal pieces of paper that describe the ownership of a piece of intellectual property are a small part of the battle in terms of having it turn into something valuable.

So many times I have seen people who say they have this very clever idea and who want to patent it and who think they are going to get rich from the patent. It does not happen.

In order to turn something from that intellectual idea into something real, it needs tremendous human effort. It needs tremendous emotional commitment… really caring about the product one is trying to make and really pushing it hard.

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