Great series running in the International Herald (New York Times). Title: "THE IDEA ECONOMY: Who Owns What?"
Herewith an excerpt: "From the United States to Europe and Japan, more patents were sought in the past 20 years than the previous 100, evidence that protecting the rights to an idea is itself growing in importance. 'Patents are becoming the highest-value assets in any economy,' said Jerry Sheehan, an economist with the OECD."
Obvious, but many—still!—wonder if you can "build an economy around [mere?] ideas." I think the answer is an unequivocal "Yes."