State of Innovation

Patents and Innovation Economics

Ayn Rand on Intellectual Property

There seems to be a lot of confusion about Ayn Rand’s position on intellectual property both by her supporters and her detractors.  For instance, the Cato Institute  considers it almost a prerequisite to have read Atlas Shrugged to work there.  However their position on patents and copyrights  is in direct contradiction to Ayn Rand’s position. 

 The following quote from Atlas Shrugged, should give you a hint at Ayn Rand’s position on intellectual property:

“Man’s mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given to him, survival is not. His body is given to him, its sustenance is not. His mind is given to him, its content is not. To remain alive he must act and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action. He cannot obtain his food without knowledge of food and of the way to obtain it. He cannot dig a ditch––or build a cyclotron––without a knowledge of his aim and the means to achieve it. To remain alive, he must think.”  Rand 1992, p. 1012.

 Ayn Rand devotes a whole chapter, Chapter 11, in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal to patents and copyrights.  The first sentence makes her position crystal clear.  “Patents and copyrights are the legal implementation of the base of all property rights: a man’s right to the product of his mind.[1]  “What the patent and copyright laws acknowledge is the paramount role of mental effort in the production of material values: these laws protect the mind’s contribution in its purest form: the origination of an idea.”[2]

 After pointing out that intellectual property is the source of all property rights, she clarifies the distinction between the idea and the physical embodiment.  “What the patent or copyright protects is not the physical object as such, but the idea that embodies it.  By forbidding an unauthorized reproduction of the object, the law declares, in effect, that the physical labor of copying is not the source of the object’s value, that the value is created by the originator of the idea.”[3]  “Thus the law establishes the property right of the mind to that which it has brought into existence.”[4]  She then points out that “patents and copyrights only pertain to the practical application of knowledge, to the creation of a specific object which did not exist in nature.”[5]

 Next, she tackles the whole question of whether a patent is privilege (in the modern sense of a gift)[6] or is a right.  According to Rand, the government does not grant a patent, in the sense of a gift, privilege of favor, but recognizes the originator of the idea and protects their rights in the idea.[7]

Rand has a very interesting take on the reason for limited terms of patents and copyrights.  She analogies a patent or copyright to a debt owed to the inventor/author by people that copy the inventor’s invention or author’s book.  Debts are not and cannot be perpetual, so this is why the term of patents and copyrights are limited according to Rand.  I will note that real property rights are actually time limited also.  A person only has a property right in real (personal) property during their lifetime.  How can someone who is not alive own something – this would be a logical absurdity.  However, real property is passed on to the person with the next best title to real property upon a person’s death.  In the case of intellectual property, no one person has better title to intellectual property than anyone else so upon the expiration of its term it becomes free for all mankind to use.  Or as Rand explains, real property “can be left to heirs, but it cannot remain in their effortless possession in perpetuity: the heirs can consume it or must earn its continued possession by their own productive effort.”[8]  In contrast, “Intellectual property cannot be consumed.  If it were held in perpetuity, it would lead to the opposite of the very principle on which it is based: it would lead, not to the earned reward of achievement, but to the unearned support of parasitism.”[9]

Rand seems to anticipate the patent thicket discussion and suggests that this is the reason for shorter terms of patents than copyrights.[10]  She also suggests that it is very difficult to correctly define the limits of a patent boundary.[11]  Here, she is mistaken.  There is no evidence of a patent thicket ever existing on a macroeconomic level, only evidence of people who do not want to compensate an inventor for using their technology.  The boundaries of patents are no more difficult to define than those of copyrights or land before GPS and title insurance.  However, patents will be more useful as the equivalent of title insurance for invention is created.  

 I will end this post with a particularly prescient quote from Rand: 

Today, patents are the special target of the collectivists’ attacks . . .[12]

 


[1] Rand, Ayn, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Signet, New York, 1967, p. 130. 

[2] Id. 

[3] Id. 

[4] Id.

[5] Ibid. p. 131.

[6] See Adam Mossoff’s excellent paper “Who Cares What Thomas Jefferson Thought About Patents?

Reevaluating the Patent “Privilege”, where he points out that historically a privilege is a right that can only be secured in society, essentially synonymous with what we would call a “civil right” today. http://www.pff.org/issues-pubs/ip/bulletins/bulletin2.2jeffersonprivilege.pdf

[7] Rand, Ayn, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Signet, New York, 1967, p. 131. 

[8] Ibid. p. 131

[9] Ibid. p. 131

[10]Ibid. p. 133

[11]Ibid. p. 133

[12]Ibid. p. 133

February 28, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

33 Comments »

  1. […] and entrepreneur, features Rand's writings on innovation and patents in his aptly titled piece, Ayn Rand on Intellectual Property. Here are the major points that Halling includes in his Randian IP […]

    Pingback by Microsoft Continues To Land Profitable IP Licensing Deals « Innovators Network Blog | March 1, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] All of the opinions of the Court embrace the myth that a patent is a monopoly.  A patent is a property right.  Just as individuals have property rights in land or automobiles.  Property rights are derived from Locke’s theory of Natural Rights. This is completely consistent with patents.  For more information, please refer to, The Myth that Patents are a Monopoly: and Scarcity – Does it Prove Intellectual Property is Unjustified? .  The Court would be wise to consult the preeminent  philosopher on Capitalism: see Ayn Rand on Intellectual Property. […]

    Pingback by BILSKI: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly « State of Innovation | June 29, 2010 | Reply

  3. […] Patents and Copyrights, PROPERTY RIGHTS by froivinber NOTE: Guest Post here by patent attorney Dale B. Halling, from the excellent blog State of Innovation. (I highly recommend a […]

    Pingback by Ayn Rand on Intellectual Property « THE VINCENTON POST | July 22, 2010 | Reply

  4. In light of the recent The L. Neil Smith – FreeTalkLive Copyright Dispute I was inspired to look up what Rand said about intellectual property.

    Your article raises many questions for me.

    You say: “real property is passed on to the person with the next best title to real property upon a person’s death. In the case of intellectual property, no one person has better title to intellectual property than anyone else so upon the expiration of its term it becomes free for all mankind to use.”

    What denotes “next best title.” What is the quality that makes one’s title of inheritance more robust(?) than another? Blood relation? Contract? Bequest? Proximity? First come first serve(as in grave robbing)? What quality makes “next best title” not applicable to “intellectual property”? How can a legitimate(?) heir have “better title” to the physical products of one’s labor, but somehow not to the “intellectual products” of the same person’s labor? We seem to have a distinction without an actual difference.

    Also, what does Rand have to say on parallel independent innovation. As I said on another website: two inventors, engineers, or scientists following parallel lines of progress arrive at the same conclusion roughly at the same time, but innovator A’s car breaks down on the way to the patent office, letting innovator B’s patent squeak by the finish line 53 seconds ahead of his competitor.

    Did she support “Whoops. Tough $#!% innovator A. From now on change your motor oil more often and better luck next lifetime.” or upon proof of independent investigation “#@&% you very much innovator B; this is all my own work so go tell it to Satan. HE might give a damn what you’ve been up to cause I sure as hell don’t. And neither do my customers.”?

    If the “first-to-invent” theory rules, what happens if the evidentiary equivalent of a photo-finish shows a definitive draw? Or if the order of invention cannot be determined with any reliability? Is Rand’s proposed debt owed to one, the other, or both?

    If the “first to file” theory reins, what happens in the event the Romulans show up and assert their rather obvious prior patent rights on civilization? Or for a more down to Earth scenario what happens if I go to Africa and find a aboriginal tribe who uses a locally known hoodia extract to cure AIDS, which I was just granted an American drug patent for? Who’s claim is legitimate?

    And finally, is Robert Klassen’s “Innovation Clearing-House” a ridiculous exaggeration of “Intellectual Property” rights or it’s logical conclusion from a Randian stand point?

    Comment by Mr. Quincy | July 27, 2010 | Reply

    • First of all, let me say that the point of this post was to explain Ayn Rand’s ideas not mine. Although we agree on most points.

      Why is intellectual property not inheritable?
      Actually, intellectual property can be inherited. However the term of intellectual property is limited. For instance, patents are good for 20 years from the date of filing. Copyrights last for the life of the author plus 70 years (copyrights owned by author).
      As to why the term of intellectual property is limited. I think the post explains that well.

      What denotes next best title?
      In common law countries it is important to understand that your ownership of property is due to the fact that you have the best claim on the property. For instance, if you build an airplane then you own the airplane because you created it. If someone else were given title to the plane you built without you consent that would be stealing your labor. When you die your property is essentially not owned by anyone. (Your term of ownership has expired) The question then is who should now take possession and ownership of the property you owned? If you have a will, then you define who has the next best title. If you die intestate, then a statute determine who has the next best title. Not every jurisdiction has the same intestate statute. However, most agree that your spouse is likely to inherit most or all of your property. Generally, this makes sense since your spouse probably contributed to you being able to acquire the property. Offspring are usually next and then next of kin.

      Parallel Independent Innovation?
      I do not have Ayn Rand’s book with me right now, but she does discuss this issue in her book. Based on memory her point about simultaneous invention is that first true inventor has title to the invention. Thus, your hypothetical about the car breaking down to the patent office has no effect on who obtains the patent. Given this, I think she would not be in favor of a first-to-file system and I agree. As a patent attorney, I can tell you that parallel independent inventions rarely happen. In the US, we have a process for resolving cases where there is almost simultaneous invention and there are very few of these cases a year – 55 last year.
      Photo Finish? As I stated, these cases almost never occur. However, the point of the legal system is to determine who has the property rights. If the parties do not agree to share the property rights then one will be determined to be the owner of the invention. While the result may not always be correct, at some point it is also important that clear title be established so that the property can be put to work.

      Robert Klassen’s “Innovation Clearing-House”
      I am not familiar with his work, but what I found on the internet seems to suggest a perpetual right in your inventions and discoveries. Ayn Rand is clear that there is no perpetual right (infinitely long right) to property. Even real property rights essentially end when your life ends. Ayn Rand also would not support a property right in scientific discoveries. For instance, no one can own the rights in Newton’s third law of motion. However, you can own rights in an invention that takes advantage of Newton’s third law of motion.

      Comment by dbhalling | July 28, 2010 | Reply

  5. […] scarcity, stephan kinsella, Tom Palmer by froivinber NOTE: Guest Post here by patent attorney Dale B. Halling, from the excellent blog State of Innovation. (I highly recommend a visit.) This excellent article […]

    Pingback by Scarcity and Intellectual Property: Empirical Evidence of Adoption/Distribution of Technology « THE VINCENTON POST | August 17, 2010 | Reply

  6. […] scarcity, stephan kinsella, Tom Palmer by froivinber NOTE: Guest Post here by patent Atty. Dale B. Halling, from the excellent blog State of Innovation. (I highly recommend a visit.) This excellent article […]

    Pingback by Scarcity and Intellectual Property: Empirical Evidence of Adoption/Distribution of Technology « THE VINCENTON POST | August 19, 2010 | Reply

  7. […] of it should be protected: John Locke, Lysander Spooner, Ludwig Von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Ayn Rand, J. Neil Schulman, L. Neil Smith, Morris and Linda Tannehill, Milton Friedman, David Friedman, […]

    Pingback by Please Cite If You Pick Up Leads From This Blog (Updated, April 7, 2011) | The Mind-Body Politic | April 9, 2011 | Reply

  8. […] section of the talk.  I have previously written on Ayn Rand’s view of intellectual property, see Ayn Rand on Intellectual Property.  My post is more about the issues of patent law, while this lecture is more about how IP is the […]

    Pingback by Adam Mossoff Lecture: Ayn Rand on Intellectual Property « State of Innovation | April 24, 2011 | Reply

  9. […] position on patents and intellectual property among her fans.  I have written about this before in Ayn Rand on Intellectual Property.  However, I thought it might be interesting to catalog every case where patents and inventions […]

    Pingback by Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) on Patents/Inventions | Law Office of Dale B. Halling, LLC - Intellectual Property Law Firm - Patent Attorney - Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights - Blog | July 30, 2011 | Reply

  10. […] position on patents and intellectual property among her fans.  I have written about this before in Ayn Rand on Intellectual Property.  However, I thought it might be interesting to catalog every case where patents and inventions […]

    Pingback by Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) on Patents/Inventions | Law Office of … | Inventing | July 31, 2011 | Reply

  11. There are no natural rights.

    Comment by copying is not deprivation of anything ontologically extant | April 1, 2014 | Reply

    • Of Course there are, you just don’t understand the definition. Natural Rights are those rights that follow logically from the fact that you own yourself. Those Rights define what government should be protecting. It is not a statement about what government do, but what they should do.

      Comment by dbhalling | April 1, 2014 | Reply

  12. You do not own yourself, to say you do is to simply declare that you FEEL you should be left free and able to self direct your life, it’s an emotional persuasion, feeling, opinion, etc, not a fact of reality. How would one prove their “self ownership”

    We can determine how much you weigh, what your body temperature is, etc, by observing the facts of reality, but there is no way to prove self ownership, it is a subjective value statement.

    Comment by Logic does not make ought statements, only subjects do. | April 1, 2014 | Reply

    • You clearly do not understand and logic. I do not feel that I own myself that is a logical proposition. Rand shows that a moral system for humans results in the fact that they own themselves. But more simply, you have to provide an argument for why someone has a greater ownership in me than me and you cannot do so. FAIL.

      Your implicit support for slavery is morally repugnant.

      Comment by dbhalling | April 1, 2014 | Reply

    • According to your strict empiricists point of view we can’t prove ownership of anything. But if we take you literally, we can’t trust you senses. In fact you might not exist. Your reasoning, such as it is, is clearly nonsense.

      “In answer to those philosophers who claim that no relation can be established between ultimate ends or values and the facts of reality, let me stress that the fact that living entities exist and function necessitates the existence of values and of an ultimate value which for any given living entity is its own life. Thus the validation of value judgments is to be achieved by reference to the facts of reality. The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do. So much for the issue of the relation between “is” and “ought.” Ayn Rand

      She clearly proves that values come from reality. And the reality of a rational being is that it own’s itself. This is logic, it is not subjective.

      Comment by dbhalling | April 2, 2014 | Reply

  13. “You clearly do not understand and logic. I do
    not feel that I own myself that is a logical
    proposition.”

    No, that’s just a bald assertion.

    “Rand shows that a moral system
    for humans results in the fact that they own
    themselves.”

    That would depend on who’s moral opinions we are talking about.

    “But more simply, you have to
    provide an argument for why someone has a
    greater ownership in me than me and you
    cannot do so. FAIL.”

    I’m not claiming that someone has a greater ownership in you, I’m claiming that ownership is a social construct, or norm, and whether someone owns something or not cannot be proven objectively, it depends on what rules of ownership we are talking about, who made these rules, and who enforces these rules.

    “Your implicit support for slavery is morally
    repugnant.”

    I do not support slavery, in fact I oppose IP monopoly privilege because I want humans to be free to act, free to imitate the actions of others they admire, without their permission. Your dishonest debating style is unsettling.

    “According to your strict empiricists point of
    view we can’t prove ownership of anything.”

    You can’t prove it objectively, only in the context of man made laws and norms can you prove legal ownership.

    “But if we take you literally, we can’t trust you
    senses. In fact you might not exist. Your
    reasoning, such as it is, is clearly nonsense.”

    if we choose to trust our senses, then that is exactly what we have done, but our senses do not allow us to sense ownership, because ownership does not have a taste, smell, feel, etc… to it, it is simply a social construct, norm, convention..

    ” She clearly proves that values come from
    reality. And the reality of a rational being is
    that it own’s itself. This is logic, it is not
    subjective.”

    No, actually she doesn’t, all she highlights is the fact that the achievement of our chosen ends, is limited by the nature of the universe around us, if we subjectively value life more than death, and therefore choose to continue living, we must then cope with for example, the fact that our bodies require food, but neither logic, nature, reason, etc dictates that we ought to value life, or continue living, only a subject can make value judgements, and that is why value is subjective.

    Comment by The naturalistic fallacy is not a proof of self ownership, it is a fallacy. | April 2, 2014 | Reply

  14. Clearly you belong on the Kantian site. You have no understanding of reality, in fact you seem to deny it exists. You do not understand logic, the process of non-contradictory thinking. Morality is not relative it is based on the fact that life exists. In order for life to exist it has to take action to continue to exist. Morality is the logical conditions necessary for this to occur. This FACT, base on BIOLOGY. Perhaps you should learn some basic science before you spout off. None of this is based on FEELINGS.

    Comment by dbhalling | April 2, 2014 | Reply

  15. “Clearly you belong on the Kantian site. You
    have no understanding of reality, in fact you
    seem to deny it exists.”

    I fully believe that reality exists, and have never uttered a word to suggest otherwise, so your accusation here is completely baseless. My position here from the start is very simple, the reality that does in fact exist around us, IS what it IS, but it does not cast judgement on what OUGHT TO BE. Ought statements can only be made by conscious, thinking beings(subjects), based on their chosen values. Your body needs water to remain alive, this a FACT of reality, not a VALUE judgement made by reality. It does not follow that because your body needs water to remain alive, that you then ought to remain alive by drinking water, that would depend on whether YOU, a SUBJECT, value life, or would rather end your life.

    “You do not understand
    logic, the process of non-contradictory
    thinking.”

    Neither of us are making statements following formal, logical, sentence structure(if A, then B, if B, then C, etc.), our discussion has been an informal one.

    “Morality is not relative it is based on
    the fact that life exists. In order for life to exist
    it has to take action to continue to exist.”

    Nobody denies the latter, this is a FACT of reality, not a VALUE JUDGEMENT made by reality, it’s what simply IS, not what OUGHT to be, you say morality is based on this fact, but then do not show how this follows, you simply assert that it does.

    “Morality is the logical conditions necessary
    for this to occur. This FACT, base on BIOLOGY.”

    No, here you are again making the same appeal to nature(naturalistic fallacy), what is necessary, simply IS, but does not tell us what OUGHT to be. Rocks fall down, not up, this is a FACT, not a value judgement, or moral prescription from reality about what ought to be.
    Reality does not declare that rocks ought to fall down, reality demonstrates that they simply do fall down.

    “Perhaps you should learn some basic science
    before you spout off. None of this is based on
    FEELINGS.”

    Perhaps you should learn the difference between what is, and statements of opinion about what ought to be, then you might understand that what is, is not based on feelings, but what ought to be certainly is.

    Comment by Formal logic is not a circular string of bald assertions | April 3, 2014 | Reply

    • “Nobody denies the latter, this is a FACT of reality, not a VALUE JUDGEMENT made by reality, it’s what simply IS, not what OUGHT to be, you say morality is based on this fact, but then do not show how this follows, you simply assert that it does.” No again you ignore Biology. Values are only possible to living things. Choosing the value of death is contradictory, because it means you are choosing not to have values. That is straightforward logic. Learn basic logic.

      Comment by dbhalling | April 3, 2014 | Reply

  16. You are quoting Rand, and accepting her conclusions without even thinking about the content of her statements. She flat out states that value is subjective if you simply pay attention to her argument, rather than just blindly accept her conclusion.

    Rand held that values were only possible to living things, that means that by definition, value CANNOT be objective, it is mind dependant, not something that is true even in the absence of any conscious being.

    The fact that values are only possible in living, conscious beings(SUBJECTS), means that life is a pre-requisite required for value judgements to be made BY THESE SUBJECTS.That is where the values are felt, made, judged, inside the mind of the individual.

    We can objectively determine wether Jupiter is bigger than mars, it is a question that can be answered without reliance on an individual’s viewpoint, and is true even if no humans, or sentient beings exist at all.

    Questions of value, cannot be answered this way, if we ask whether life is valuable or not, we must then ask: valuable to whom? Different people have different values. To most, life is valuable, but most also value their own life, more than another’s, and in the case of suicide, some clearly do not value life at all. The fact that a conscious subject must exist for values to be held means that value, by definition, is subjective, unlike with objective truths, subjective value judgements are not true in the absence of conscious beings.

    This is why property claims, are mere claims/demands amounting to ones wish to have exclusive control over something, or they are simply legal/social constructs/norms/conventions, there is no empirical evidence in an object would objectively make it the property of any individual.

    I say all this, not because I do not favor property norms, but because it is important to understand what facts our beliefs are founded on. I favor property norms, because I believe they can lead to a more just and civil social order, not because ownership claims can be objectively proven.

    I support ones ownership claim over say a car they paid for, or a garden they planted, because for example, a car cannot be driven in two opposite directions at the same time, by two different individuals, a possible method of doing something(an idea) however, can be acted upon by an infinite number of people simultaneously without depriving the originator of the ability to act on the idea.

    Comment by Value is only possible in living things, also known as SUBJECTS! | April 3, 2014 | Reply

    • Thank you, I now realize you are confusing volition with subjectivity. I will write a longer longer post on this later. Just because something is volitional does not mean it is subjective. Geometry is volitional, you can chose to follow the rules (logic) of geometry or you can choose to ignore it. This does not mean that geometry is subjective. The same can be said of basic facts of physics. You can choose to ignore that the Earth is a sphere and some people do, but this does not make this fact of physics subjective. Just because people can chose different values, does not mean they are subjective and more that geometry or the Earth is round.

      Comment by dbhalling | April 4, 2014 | Reply

  17. What a bunch of nonsense. “Rand held that values were only possible to living things, that means that by definition, value CANNOT be objective, it is mind dependant, not something that is true even in the absence of any conscious being.”

    Values are dependent on being alive. Life is a fact. It requires things to sustain it. That is a fact. A value system of destroying one’s life is contradictory. If you understood anything about logic, you would understand your proposition is not logical. This is why I suspect you are Kantian. You clearly have no interest in logic. Most likely you metaphysics is platonic. The evidence is overwhelming that this positions are incorrect.

    Comment by dbhalling | April 3, 2014 | Reply

  18. Sounds like your on the wrong track however.

    Value is nothing more than the level of desire, appreciation, etc.. that a person FEELS toward something, it is not something empirically observable/measurable in the world, it is a mental construct, which requires a subject to feel/judge.

    Comment by I look forward to your first attempt at countering my arguments | April 4, 2014 | Reply

  19. Value is in short, the appreciation a person feels toward something, in the same way someone can like red more than blue, they can also like life, more than death.

    Comment by I look forward to your first attempt at countering my arguments | April 4, 2014 | Reply

    • You are confusing volition with subjectivity. There is nothing subjective about the desire to obtain and ear food.

      No a value is something one seeks to achieve. If you seek to achieve death they you destroy the source of values that is a logical inconsistency. Unless you reject reality and reason as you epistemology then this is not possible. But if you reject reality and reason then science is subjective also.

      Comment by dbhalling | April 4, 2014 | Reply

    • Value is not just desire, it is something someone seeks to achieve that consistent with a rational requirements.

      Comment by dbhalling | April 7, 2014 | Reply

  20. You are stuck on the fact that life is a prerequisite for values to be felt, by subjects, but it is NOT life itself that is the source of value, plants are alive, yet they do not make value judgements, it is the individual, thinking subject, and their brain chemistry that decides subjectively what is valuable, or not, TO THEM. While logic is a tool that one can employ to navigate the world, and choose their values, it cannot make value judgements absent an individual person’s feelings.

    If someone commits suicide, then by Rands definition of value, life is NOT valuable to that person, there is nothing illogical, inconsistent, or contradictory about that.

    Comment by Rocks don't desire to obtain and eat food, because they are not subjects(beings) | April 4, 2014 | Reply

  21. Absolutely plants have values but they are not volitional. So their values are pre-programmed. Sunlight is a value to plants (photosynthesis).

    For humans, water, air, food are values. These are objectively determined by the fact that you are alive.

    Suicide: You are confusing an ethical system with a specific ethical decision. A ethical system that advocates death is a contradiction in terms. An individual deciding that it is no longer worth living, is not necessarily inconsistent.

    Comment by dbhalling | April 5, 2014 | Reply

  22. This conversation has reached a level of absurdity, so high, I can no longer participate. My purpose in commenting here was never to enlighten an objectivist, that’s a lost cause, it was more to illustrate the absurdity of typical objectivist “thought,” to others, that goal has been thoroughly reached.

    Comment by I guess in your world, plants act to achieve things... | April 6, 2014 | Reply

    • Did you study and botany? Yes, plant grow towards the sun, they grow roots toward water.

      Comment by dbhalling | April 7, 2014 | Reply

  23. The problem with the concept of product of mind, is that to establish such a product as exclusive property will exclude the liberty of all other minds to make the same product. For whatever term this monopoly is enforced, the totality of all other minds will be denied this exact same mental process. I agree that some use of an intellectual product may be copy….but some can and will be a restriction of free minds of those who would in due course of the same state of history and industry have followed the same process independently. The term of protection for monopolies of the mind should be much more limited than they are today. Perhaps they should not be granted at all. At best they stifle competition. At worst they delay progress until the end of the monopoly.

    Comment by Randy Cox | August 7, 2014 | Reply

  24. Randy, this is nonsense. Your property rights do not allow you do what ever you want with you property. And patents do not limit anyone’s ability to think about anything. Property rights are the law recognizing the metaphysical fact of creation. Inventions are created by people and you are justifying theft.

    Comment by dbhalling | August 7, 2014 | Reply


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