The Tortoise and the Hare

A Holiday party treasure hunt this month became a reminder about how winning a game also depends upon understanding exactly what game you are playing.  This treasure hunt game involved finding 12 clues and answering 12 questions about objects around where the clues were found.  As the dozen or so teams heard the rules of play, they learned that the first three teams to find all the clues and answer all the associated questions correctly would win prizes.  So as the game began, everyone rushed off.  And somewhere around question 4 my partner and I got stuck.  So no way were we going to finish first.  In fact, I am pretty sure we finished last.  However, we also won one of the prizes.  The reason: we had been accurate in answering our questions.  Although the treasure hunt was presented as a race, accuracy, not speed, was the dominant condition for winning.  Speed was only the tie breaker.

 Ever seen that in IP?  IP, especially in first to file countries, also has similar conditions for winning.  It demands a qualitative aspect to the described invention first.  Speed of filing is the tie breaker for ownership.  In our treasure hunt game above, we had played a Tortoise to a bunch of Hares, not thinking at the time that our competitors, in their haste to be first to finish, would answer so many of their questions wrong.  While this post is certainly not a recommendation to slow down – the title of my IP Strategy book is Outpacing the Competition after all – it is a reminder that speed may only be the tie breaker in a competition where the dominate factor is getting it right.  

(Image credit: Hemera)

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