image (c) morgan, lewis, bockius
In web 2.0, there is a dichotomy between openness and protection. User generated content is often released without restriction and can freely be cited, mashed, indexed and referenced. This is often seen in sites that crawl content of encyclopedia services and create essentially the same thing, with a different css template. Free content is a good thing because it drives visitors who might eventually make a purchase, or register to become a valuable user. Novelists and writers are increasingly giving away e-books in this schema.(Of course it helps to have Oprah say "go to xyz.com and download this book...")
On the other hand, technologies with unique aspects are still protected by patents. For example, in our case we retain Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius in Palo Alto Square - which has done an excellent job in managing our portfolio of issued patents and trademarks, and worked with us to develop new I.P. It's a firm with extensive domain expertise in patent development and litigation, handling some of the biggest names out there. Even the secret formula for a vitamin or soda-pop (in addition to technology) can be safeguarded in such a way.