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Harness The Wandering Genius

The character of the "wise fool" is one that crosses every frontier--from continent to continent, from fiction to reality, from past to present.  The inspiration for Erdős Intellectual Property Law came from the legacy of one such genius eccentric, Paul Erdős.

Paul Erdős was one of the most prolific mathematicians of the 20th century.  He is one of the greatest contributers to graph theory, set theory, number theory, combinatorics, and probability theory.  He also was homeless by choice.  He spent much of his life as an itinerant guest, visiting one academic's house and then moving on to another's.  While he was at the academic's house, he'd engage his host in discussion that would spur collaborative projects and co-authorship.  He'd then leave a few days later, taking suggestions from his host as to which academic to next visit.  Soon enough, academics would start to brag about their "Erdős Number," that is, the degree of separation in co-authorship that the academic had from Paul Erdős himself.  Paul Erdős had an Erdős number of 0, the people who directly co-authored with him would claim an Erdős number of 1, and the direct collaborators of those co-authors could claim an Erdős number of 2, and so on.  Today, not only do mathematicians peacock their Erdős pedigree--biologists, physicists, and engineers do too! 

Paul Erdős so enjoyed igniting creativity and ingenuity that he would go around offering people money to solve math problems.  He believed deeply in genius, collaboration, and authorship. He was the incarnation the "wise fool," or the eccentric who made evident the wisdom and creativity of the community around him.  He helped people harness the wandering genius of their own minds to produce work that would change lives and the course of history.

The vision of Erdős Intellectual Property Law is in the same vein: to protect those who dare to innovate.  Erdős Intellectual Property Law champions entrepreneurs, designers, innovators, and creatives.

Let's get thinking.  What wise eccentics or itinerant sages from history, fiction, lore, religion, and your community come to mind?  Was their genius recognized by their contemporaries, or did that recognition come much later?