State of Innovation

Patents and Innovation Economics

Explaining Patent Law Through the Lens of Natural Rights

For engineers and scientists it is easier to understand the major concepts of patent law from the perspective of natural rights, since it is consistent with their scientific training.  Natural rights and science share the assumptions that the world is comprehensible and that reason plus observation can be used to understand how nature operates.  A third assumption needed for this analysis is that a person owns themselves.  This assumption is consistent with John Locke’s conception of natural rights.

Real Property

Property law results from the analysis that if a person owns themselves, then they own the product of their labor.[1] An example from United States history is the Homestead Act.  The concept behind the Homestead Act is that land is not owned by anyone until it is improved by a person’s labor.  Once the person has improved the land, then they are the owner.  Similar concepts are used to define who owns a wild animal.  Once a person owns property they can trade if for other property and this is the basis of a market economy. Read more »

December 4, 2009 Posted by dbhalling | -How to, -Philosophy, Patents | , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment