you know that prior to the 17th century monarchs and their assigns would
issue decrees forbidding anyone other than their chosen vendors to sell
certain products or services? Monopolies were granted for marketing
of such trivial items as perfume and playing cards. In 1624, Parliament
passed a law banning monopolies except as a reward for inventors. That
bit of trivia is part of an article by Glenn Reynolds in
. He continues that during the drafting of the
U.S. Constitution you find similar thinking. "Thomas Jefferson opposed
all government-granted monopolies, but James Madison argued that while
monopolies generally are bad, there is a place for patents and copyrights.
In the end, the Patent and Copyright Clause (Article
I, Section 8)
empowered Congress '[t]o promote the Progress of
Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and
Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.'"
It's a short article, but an interesting read about how the current
patent and trademark system is breaking down.
Posted August 6, 2013