Patents Fuel American Ingenuity
In the famous words of Abraham Lincoln, “the patent system added the fuel of interest to the fire of ingenuity”. The founding fathers of our country chose to provide every citizen the incentive to create and invent.
A patent is a right, granted by the United States to an inventor, to exclude others from making, using, selling and even importing an invention into the United States without his or her permission.
In its simplest form, it is a monopoly granted by the United States to an inventor to enable the inventor to exploit his or her creativity. By providing an inventor with the security that he will enjoy the fruits of his hard work and ingenuity, patents encourage innovation.
They were right to place great confidence in the inspired ordinary citizen. Today, the United States comprises only about 4% of the world’s population, yet the overwhelming majority new scientific or technological innovations can be traced to American ingenuity. By fueling and encouraging self-interested research and protecting the hard work and creative rights of innovative geniuses, our patent system has encouraged creativity and entrepreneurship and helped establish the United States as the world leader in new technology and innovation.
A Patent right is a legal right to limit competition and is often the most valuable assets owned by a business. Some of the largest corporations in America today were started by individual inventors who decided to seek patent protection and exploit the monopoly granted by the United States government.
The airplane was the creation of the Wright Brothers, two bicycle mechanics in Dayton, Ohio. The electric light, the creation of a farm boy who never completed high school, Thomas Edison. Whether you are looking at AT&T, Dow Chemical, Goodyear, Eastman Kodak, Xerox, 3M, or Hewlett-Packard, the fact is that most of the greatest American innovations started as ideas with very humble beginnings.
There is truth to the statement that today’s big ideas are tomorrow’s big businesses.
Patents are valuable property. Like other property, a patent can be sold outright. Of course, patents can also be licensed to others in exchange for royalty payments. In fact, over a billion dollars of patent rights are licensed every year.