Big data as a term is a broad church that encompasses a range of innovation. The technology itself has evolved dramatically from the relational databases of the 70s, through to modern processing techniques for unstructured and structured data. Today,’big data’ is often used synonymously with data analytics and data science, and can include anything from a whole project to just one aspect of a wider initiative. Effectively, it now covers all types of data analysis to derive insight, particularly where that data is constantly evolving or is large or complex.
The varied nature of big data, and lack of clear definition has led to uncertainty as to how innovation can be protected as intellectual property. For example, there is a common myth in technology circles that you can’t patent big data projects, which is false. Tackling this myth is important because, with a lifetime of 20 years and without having to evidence copying to demonstrate infringement, a patent is the strongest form of a protection for an innovation. This exclusivity can be critical in commercializing a big data invention, forming a business model, and even in helping companies secure funding.
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