By: Josh Sloat
Why do patents exist in the first place? What function do they serve in society? And what is their historic origin story? In this month’s episode, with the help of Professor Adam Mossoff, we zoom way out, turn the time dial back a bit, and focus on the genesis of patents.
Democratizing the Bridge to Innovation
There’s a special kind of magic that happens when individual incentives align with societal good. Abraham Lincoln, who believed that the creation of the patent system was only surpassed by the discovery of America and the invention of the printing press in terms of the three greatest advancements in human history, once said, “The Patent System added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius, in the discovery and production of new and useful things”.
The recognition and protection of mental labor and the fruits of the mind as natural property rights enabled any inventor – big or small – to profit from their discoveries and partner with those possessing the resources necessary to scale and bring new products and services to the marketplace. The exchange of this protection for an enabling public disclosure enhanced society and accelerated the pace of innovation by facilitating the open exchange of information and created the greatest free library of science and technological information in the world. And because the economy grows and society flourishes when innovation is encouraged, the world was transformed in the 19th and 20th centuries as demonstrated by the scientific and technological revolutions that define our modern society and by virtue, created the greatest hockey stick graph in history.
Seeking the Cure for Societal Amnesia
But somewhere along the way, we lost sight of this. Patents became a victim of their own success. Their impact on society, the economy, and innovation became both ubiquitous and too often unseen at the same time. This episode is the start of our effort to help undo this collective societal amnesia about the significance of patents as the primary driver in society for encouraging innovation, promoting public disclosure, facilitating technology transfer, and stimulating economic growth.
Our Guest: Professor Adam Mossoff
Patently Strategic is available on all major podcasting directories, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We're also available on 12 other directories including Stitcher, iHeart Radio, and TuneIn, so you should be able to find us wherever you listen to podcasts.
Connect With Our Guest
You can follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamMossoff, where he posts regularly on patent and innovation policy, including his excellent “this Day in Innovation History” tweets.
We're also providing computer-generated transcripts for improved accessibility and additional reference opportunities.
Ashley Sloat, Ph.D.
Startups have a unique set of patent strategy needs - so let this blog be a resource to you as you embark on your patent strategy journey.