Own up... if we were to hop inside the Tardis and role the clock back 15 years, who would know the meaning of intellectual iroperty (or IP)? The fact that it has even gained a two letter acronym all of its own tells us all we really need to know.
To an ex-luddite like myself (I've been in rehab and I'm ok now), it only really appeared on my radar when it emerged from the mouth of one David McNally, the CEO of Norwich City Football Club. As an avid Canaries follower - and writer - any utterances by said gentleman are, to me, akin to gospel; the gospel according to St David of Norwich.
The issue in relation to Norwich City FC arose when an over-eager fan had the audacity to publish online pictures of the team's 2012/13 kit a full 12 hours prior to its official launch. So incensed was McNally that Norfolk Constabulary were called - such was the club's desire to protect its 'intellectual property.'
So there it was... 'IP' in all its glory. The fact it had taken until 2011 to register on my radar says rather more about me than anything else, but there it was; another product of the digital age.
My curiosity - we've established I'm not the sharpest tool - led to the inevitable Google, upon which I discovered what the massive part IP plays in 21st century business.
Venture capital companies such as MGT Capital Investments Inc trade exclusively in this field for huge sums. The company, now based in London, cites its raison d'etre as being engaged in the business of monetizing intellectual property.
With IP being the new patent and copyright, MGT Capital Investment Inc invest heavily, either directly or through subsidiaries, in the fields of medical imagery and online gaming - the common denominator being the need for constant IT advancement.
To stay one step ahead of the competition in both fields means everything, both from a technological and investment perspective; the two are intrinsically intertwined.
In terms of the medical imaging, MGT - through subsidiaries - undertakes this research in the UK, other parts of Europe, the US, Japan and China. The subsidiary - Medicsight - is developing computer aided detection and image analysis software that is at the very forefront of the battle against cancer.
MGT Gaming Inc - another branch of MGT - looks at the casino gaming sector, and holds certain IP patents focussed specifically in this area. Again, technological advancement is everything, if for altogether less altruistic reasons.
With MGT quoted as having a 'cash-rich' balance sheet, they are a prime example of where IP now sits in 21st century capital investment opportunities; they trade on the London Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
The digital age has brought many changes - some easy to understand, others impossible to fathom - but to protect one's IP is as critical now as it was when Percy Shaw took out that patent of cat's eyes.
If in any doubt, just ask David McNallySuggest a correction