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Chapter Two: The History of Patents


Published: November 30th, 2020

A patent is a tradeable property right granted to the inventor. The patent system relies on the market to operate effectively and provides incentives for individuals to improve on existing innovations. History demonstrates that countries with well-developed property rights and patents became wealthier than countries without them.

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Discussion Questions

  1. What kind of inventions can be protected under the patent system?
  2. How does intellectual property affect the economy?

Additional Resources

  • Read “Patents and the Wealth of Nations,” by Stephen Haber. Available here..
  • Read “The Myth of the Wicked Patent Troll,” by Stephen Haber and Ross Levine. Available here.
  • Read “Patent Trolls as Financial Intermediaries? Experimental Evidence,” by Stephen Haber and Seth H. Werfel. Available here.
  • Read “Property Rights: A Practical Guide to Freedom and Prosperity,” by Terry Anderson and Laura E. Huggins. Available here.