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The Democratization of Invention

The Democratization of Invention
Patents and Copyrights in American Economic Development, 1790–1920

$98.00 (P)

  • Date Published: September 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521811354

$ 98.00 (P)
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About the Authors
  • An Examination of the evolution and impact of American intellectual property rights during the 'long nineteenth century,' this book compares the American system to developments in the more oligarchic societies of France and Britain. The United States created the first modern patent system and its policies were the most liberal in the world toward inventors. Individuals who did not have the resources to directly exploit their inventions benefited disproportionately from secure property rights and the operation of efficient markets. When markets expanded, these inventors contributed to the proliferation of new technologies and improvements. In contrast to its leadership in the area of patents, the US copyright regime was among the weakest in the world, in keeping with its utilitarian objective of promoting the general welfare. American patent and copyright institutions promoted a process of democratization that not only furthered economic and technological progress but also provided a conduit for the creativity and achievements of disadvantaged groups.

    • Compares patent and copyright institutions to better understand the rationale behind intellectual property rights policies
    • Comparative international perspective - looks at experience of France, Britain, and the US, and to a lesser extent Japan, Germany and Switzerland
    • Broad perspective including law, economics, history, women, and technology
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Given the widespread appeal to history in modern judicial opinions, academic articles, and public policy debates, such empirical work is important. Historians and economists may dispute some of her methods or conclusions, but such debates about the historical facts will be a welcome change to the ascendancy of rhetoric on such subjects. Khan's work is an important contribution to our discourse about American patent law and its historical development." - Adam Mossoff, Michigan State University

    "In an era when human genes are patentable and 'digital rights management' precludes fair-use copying of MP3s, Khan's historical analysis of American IP institutions provides an important long-term perspective on current issues."
    Eric S. Hintz, Technology and Culture

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2005
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521811354
    • length: 342 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.67kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The patent system in Europe and America
    3. Patent laws and litigation
    4. Democratization and patented inventions
    5. Women inventors in America
    6. Patentees and married women's property rights
    7. Great inventors and democratic invention
    8. Copyright in Europe and America
    9. American copyright law
    10. Intellectual property and economic development.

  • Author

    B. Zorina Khan, Bowdoin College, Maine
    B. Zorina Khan is Professor of Economics at Bowdoin College. Her research focuses on the economic history of law, technology, and institutions. She has written articles for journals such as the Journal of Economic History and the American Economic Review. She is on the Editorial board of the Journal of Economic History and is a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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