The focus of much of the analysis of the intellectual property (IP) system is on the role of IP rights as incentives. This neo-classical economics approach does not acknowledge the range of circumstances and decisions that constitute the IP system. If the work of behavioural economists is considered instead, then a more nuanced understanding is available. The research here adopts the concept of ‘motivators’ from the latter body of thought and applies it to decisions made around patents, copyright, trade marks and, in order to more fully explore the issues, know-how. Further, three sets of decisions will be considered – those before the innovation is created, those relating to the distribution of the creation and those relating to their unauthorized use. The analysis of the decisions will engage with the issues of risk, negotiation and the role of legal advice in some of the decisions; thereby rounding out the analysis of decisions in terms of the internal assessments of the parties themselves.