Intellectual Property Rights

Governments have long recognized that creative activities need special support because the rewards for producing valuable information like inventions arc reduced by imitation: The u.s. Constitution therefore authorizes Congress “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing, for limited . Times, to Authors and Inventors. the exclusive Right to their respective Discoveries.” Thus special laws governing patents, copyrights, business and trade secret ‘I, and electronic media create intellectual property rights.

The purpose of intellectual property rights is to give the owner special protection against the material being copied and others without compensation to the owner or creator, The earliest intellectual property right was the patent, under which the U.S. government creates a monopoly over a novel, non obvious, and useful” I venation for a limited period, currently 20 years. Si similarly, copyright laws provide legal protection again unauthorized copying of original works in differ media such as text, music, video, software, art, an information goods. by would governments actually encourage m monopolies? In effect, patents and copyrights create property rights in books, music, and ideas. By creating property rights, governments encourage astir and inventors to invest time, effort, and money i the creative process. Put differently, by allowing inventors to have monopolies on their intellect property, the government increases the degree of profitability and thereby increases the incentives for people to invent useful new products, write books compose songs, and write computer software.

A patent also requires disclosure of the technological details of the invention, which encourages further invention and imitation. Examples of successful patents ‘include those on the cotton gin, the telephone, the Xerox machine, and many best selling pharmaceutical drugs.

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