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By Fritz Machlup

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Additional resources for An economic review of the patent system (Study of the Subcommittee on Patents, Trade-marks, and Copyrights of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, study)

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It is largely in recognition of this fact and in order to encourage such investment that patents and copyrights are given. These are monopolies expressly fostered by the Government. '" The foremost economist in the "opposition" is Sir Arnold Plant. After "disposingJ' of the thesis that patents are needed to stimulate invention, he proceeds to reject the thesis that they are needed to secure the working of inventions : The contention still remains for consideration t h a t t h e patent sj-stem is necessary in order to secure the exploitation, if not the production of inventions.

Supra, note 27, p. 71. 172 The fourth point-that society liberally trades valuable monopoly grants for information which it could get for nothing-is forcefully stated by Sir Arnold Plant: A hundred years ago, i t was also argued as a merit of the patent system that i t provided an inducement to inventors to make public the nature of their inventions so that they would eventually be generally available for wider exploitation. When businesses were small, and processes might remain one-man or family affairs, secrecy and monopoly might indeed persist longer in open competition than under the patent system.

After "disposingJ' of the thesis that patents are needed to stimulate invention, he proceeds to reject the thesis that they are needed to secure the working of inventions : The contention still remains for consideration t h a t t h e patent sj-stem is necessary in order to secure the exploitation, if not the production of inventions. The main argument is that entrepreneurs will be reluctant t o invest in plant which others may also acquire for purposes of competition. It need not detain us for long.

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