Ideas that bubble in human minds often lead to innovation, invention and creative work.  Ideas are invisible ingredients which can be preserved and transmitted from one person to another within and across the national borders.  Some believe that ideas are God-given and, therefore, they must be shared freely for the development and welfare of humanity at large.  Others consider that ideas do not fall from the tree: they have been derived from the efforts and exertion of human minds and, as such, they are valuable assets that can be exchanged against payment.  The value of an idea gets tested when it is put under application.  It serves no purpose if the conceiver of an idea does not manifest it and keeps it tightly locked in his brain until it vanishes with the departure of his soul.
    History is full of examples of how the conceivers of ideas have been treated.  While in many instances they have been acclaimed as the heroes of invention, there has also been cases where they have been condemned as heretics and accused for disturbing the conventional beliefs.  Some of the conceivers of ideas have gone unnoticed and unrewarded during their lifetime, only to gain importance posthumously.  At times,  ideas that have been despised and unwelcomed in the home country have received due recognition abroad.  In some extreme cases, owners of strategic knowledge and ideas have often been subject to abduction, imprisonment, hostage, blackmailing, arm-twisting, harassment or torture in order to force them to vomit their formulas or trade secrets to the enemies or rival parties.  Nations that have supported and encouraged the breeders of ideas have always made big advancement.  Nile River, Indus Valley, Rome, Constantinople, Tang Dynasty,  Baghdad, Cordoba, Andalusia and Florence had once been the centres of excellence and torch-bearers of great civilizations by virtue of assembling persons with ideas from all creeds, races and nationalities.  Today, the technological strength of the US rests upon its policy to attract the best brains of the world.  Other emerging countries like Qatar and UAE are also creating conducive environment to the breeding of big ideas. During the colonization process and the post-independence period, developing countries suffered a serious brain-drain, thus restraining their capacity to generate indigenous ideas and new creativity.  Several developing countries are now trying to reverse this trend by encouraging their diaspora to come back, share their experiences acquired abroad and inject new ideas in their home countries. 
    The diffusion of ideas has a multiplier effect as it leads to the enrichment of other ideas or creation of new ideas.  Since time immemorial, ideas have been transmitted orally from one generation to another.  But this has been re-inforced by writings and symbols, which apart from transmitting the ideas, have helped in their preservation as a legacy for posterity.  Just as the invention of printing revolutionized the spread of ideas, internet has globalised the diffusion of ideas with rapidity of speed and ease of access.  But as to whether an idea should be diffused freely or traded under restriction would depend solely upon the owner of the idea.  In order to claim the rightful ownership of an idea, one must protect it under the laws governing Intellectual Property Rights.
    Under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of the Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which is an integral part of the legal system of the World Trade Organisation, the unauthorized use of idea is an infringement of the right of owner.  Intellectual Property rights refer to the rights of creators of innovative or artistic work.  The rights of authors of books, software and other artistic creations are protected under copyright legislation.  The rights of inventors are protected under patent laws.  The intellectual property system allows the owners of ideas to enjoy the fruits of their creative genius by granting them exclusive rights over their intellectual objects for a limited period of time.  The holders of these rights have the exclusiveness over the production, sale and marketing of their products and services and can legally prevent others from making, using, copying imitating and selling their intellectual assets.  Any person or party wishing to exploit these protected assets must get the authorization from the right-holders and remunerate them in a variety of forms, such as royalties, lump sum fees, a share in profits, capitalization of technology and franchising.
    Ideas and knowledge are the inseparable elements of trade.  The value of many products lies, not in the materials used, but the amount of invention, innovation, research, design and testing involved therein.  Ordinary and low-value pieces of plastic, metal or paper can be traded at high prices simply because they contain certain creativity such as films, music recordings, books, paintings, data and computer software. 
    If you have worthy ideas better share them with others, otherwise they will be buried unhatched in your graveyards.  If you judge that your ideas are so important that they run the risk of being stolen and used unlawfully for the production of counterfeit goods and services, then you have the option to protect them under the intellectual property system.  For the progress of mankind, ideas must flow and grow and the breeders of ideas deserve encouragement and protection.