CNET has a intriguing interview by Michael Kanellos with Nathan Myhrvold, formerly of Microsoft and founder of Intellectual Ventures. Nathan talks about how American companies are strangling the invention process by insisting on products. What's interesting is he's trying to provide an alternative economic model for inventors.
If you're a very inventive person, what I typically say is, "Look, if you work with us, you'll get some equity in your invention, and then we'll go to license it to people later. Net-net, you'll probably get less than if you were founder of the next Cisco, but it won't take five years of your life either. So probably you'll get a lot less for each one, but you'll have so many more ideas and you'll have your whole life." It's a different kind of a trade-off.