QuoteYou've just given a strong arguments, why trucks, airplanes and other tools should be free. A truck does not generate revenue all on its own - you have to milk it, and that requires farmhands Your use of a truck, airplane or other tool excludes others from using that truck, airplane or other tool, the same argument does not apply to financial models . Someone using your model (or a variant of) does not prevent you from using your model. A competitor using your model to do business with a bank that you felt you had a relationship with, or were competing to have a relationship with does exclude you from doing business with said bank, imposing a cost on you, unfairly I might add. I'm sure that they have foregone the opportunity to be introduced to your refinements for the model, insights to other areas and your charming personality, much to their regret. The reason (and this is just based on the facts that I have in front of me) that they did not chose you is that they had no way of verifying that the model your competitor was hawking was yours with perhaps some minor modifications. The need for a heirarchy (such as their is in the scientific community) is one way to approach this signaling problem. The pitfall is that the people who are making the purchasing decisions almost always do not have the knowledge of the person providing the solution (otherwise why purchase) and they are often in a tangental field (making recognition of the contributor/contribution difficult).I would propose something along the lines of an industry group for model (idea??) certification. The idea being as follows: The applicant for certification pays a fee ($5,000, $50,000, sliding scale???) for a review of their idea by a panel to ensure that it is indeed a novel solution to the problem. The applicant draws up which parts of the implementation they believe to be new and the panel checks them off as either a true or false claim. Once the idea is certified as a new solution for a problem (problem type) the idea holder is at least armed with the good housekeeping seal of approval so to speak. Whether or not this carries any weight when you go to pitch a solution will vary from client to client. I for one would view it as a large plus, not only do you have an idea that hopefully no one has been implementing, but you also have the information that whoever is coming to you can think creatively about problems and really develop new solutions. There are plenty of pitfalls (no one cares about the cert, inability to get competent people to certify, cost prohibitive to scholars, students, entrepeneurs, etc.)Patenting and idea will be ineffective as a means of signaling originality. I don't think that the patent office is capable of understanding what the differences are between different models. Not that they are incompetent, it's just too specialized of an area. Also collecting rents from the patent will be difficult because people will either use your model covertly, or use something else that they don't have to worry about ponying up for. Also the logistics of negotiating agreements and enforcing compliance are very tough for something that is not a physical good. In structured finance the cases of "models" are much more trivial, they are mostly cash flow engines that allow for situational analysis. The levers you can pull on and where they are located are the main differentiators between models, along with methods for speeding up the generating and distributing of cashflows. I've had a few cases where people have showed me their model and it bore an uncanny resemlance one that I completed and distributed with some deal info a few deals back. The first time it happened I got kind of upset, but thereafter I usually just focused that energy on trying to remember what I did wrong in that particular implementation, it makes up for the lack or recognition of the contribution, that's for sure.