An economic review of the patent system (Study of the by Fritz Machlup

By Fritz Machlup

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Ibid. Id.. p. 51. Arthur C . Pigou. The Economics of WeUm (London:4th ed. 1932). p. 185. Arnold Plant, op. , supra, note 163, p. 42. Ibtd. , p. 40. lBa But the diversion toward patentable inrentions is unquestionably significant; andHow can i t be shown that the ''patentable" class of innovations possesses so much greater usefulness than all these others that i t should be specially encouraged by monopoly? 187 According to Plant, it cannot be shown: The existence of a monopoly, in fact, operates to divert the attentipn of inventors from what may well be the most fruitful field for further innovat~on.

Chapman brackets it with "trading or industrial privileges" which- f~ have been conferred on certain persons with the object of promoting particular businesses, or for other reasons. 147 When they discuss the limited duration of the patent monopoly, not all economists t'hink of the fixed term of the p a t e ~ grant; t some think rather of the development of substitute processes or substitut,e products which are going to supersede the protected ones. Simon N. Patten wrote: The gains of monopoly are temporary, due to sudden increases in productive power.

73. Floyd L. Vaughan, Economm of Our Patent System (1925). P. 106. 1s Arthur Robert Bums, The Decline of Competition (lQ36), p. 11. 1~ F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (London: 19441, p. 28. AN E ~ N O ~REMEW C OF THE PATENT S Y S T E ~ 29 The argument that the patent monopoly secures a just reward to the inventor is entirely absent from modern economic literature. The issue is still discussed, but only in the form of disclaimers, probably in response to the claims which some classical economists had once made and which are still cited and quoted as authorities for the fairness and justice of the rewards.

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