I have "known" for quite awhile (since I got here) that we couldn't license off a particular bit of technology becuase we had given an exclusive license to someone else and they were sitting on it and there was nothing we could do about it. The problem was that I was never able to find that licnese and really had no proof of this. I was afraid to ask, becuase everyone "knew" about this license. Finally, I have brought slowly but surely the entire legal files through my office and have found that no such license exists and that everyone "knew" about it from someone else. No one actually had ever seen or known about such a beast. Strange stuff......
The outcome of this is that I now have full legal buy in to go license this technology off and we should make good money on it. It only took 8 months for me to complete this search (not full time, always in the background...).
My point of this is that when there is something that everyone "knows" you should push, quietly mind you, but push nonetheless to actually see the obstacle. If you are blatant and upfront about it, you will get a bad rap, as a lot of the "known" things are real. Sorting out which are real and which are urban legend takes awhile, but as in this case can have big rewards.
I have to grow our license revenue by a decent percentage this year, and this has just given me another tool to do that with.