Patents Laws & Economic Productivity Essay

2129 words - 9 pages

The idea of giving creators a limited exclusive right to their intellectual property began in England in 1710. The “Statute of Anne,” inspired our Founding Fathers and was incorporated into the United State’s Constitution. There are three types of intellectual property. Trademark ™, Copyright ©, and Patents. The last two are more controversial because they both give the creator exclusive rights to their invention/writing for a limited time. They were meant to benefit both society and creator. Unlike copyright, patents further prevents another company from reverse-engineering the product and selling it for less. Patents are also harder to get; To get a patent it has to be approved by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Although the fashion industry has benefited from not having patents; Competitors constantly steal ideas from each other and cost for consumers are lower as a result. The existential U.S. Patent laws we have today are counter productive and slow the process of innovation in other fields.
The fundamental idea of patents is that it is an agreement between inventors and society. The inventor is encouraged to keep inventing to benefit society and as a return the government grants the inventor with a monopoly over its sale. Patents were written about when the Constitution was framed. The Founding Fathers believed they should “Promote the progress of Science and Useful Arts, [by] securing for limited times the exclusive rights to their [invention].” (Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 8) This one clause was originally meant to give an inventor a limited monopoly so that they can make profit, while also the society will benefit from the disclosure of the information about the invention and can build upon it. The US hoped that granting one patent would initiate a chain of future inventions that would improve society and economy. The later patent laws would make patents more favorable for inventors who have created lots of items. It incentivized inventors to create more inventions albeit not better inventions, thus society did not benefit. When the Patent Act of 1790 was first enacted, there was a strict examination process. For an idea to be patentable it had to be “A flash of genius” (NPR). The Act was later amended few years later because it was difficult for many endeavoring entrepreneurs to obtain a patent, since then the standard has dropped to “non-obvious,” for the USPTO to grant a patent. Patent laws were amended after innovators like Thomas Edison voiced their opinions. This has changed USPTO valuing only novel innovations to towards treating all patents equally. An undifferentiated, ambiguous patent would come to be treated and be eligible for patent infringement protection just as much as a well defined, ground breaking invention. This groundbreaking paradigm shift motivated inventors to patent more. Often in cases throughout the years even unfinished inventions. The patent had more value than the...

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