Kevin Mark Klughart
PhD, PE, JD, MIP, LLM
Patent Attorney / Engineer
Patent protection for works of invention is a Constitutionally guaranteed protection provided by our founding fathers. As stated in the United States Constitution in Article I:
"The Congress shall have power ... to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."
Generally, a patent is a monopoly of limited duration granted by the government to an individual in exchange for complete disclosure by the individual of the invention so that once the monopoly has expired, the invention becomes part of the public domain. Patents are an exclusionary right, and permit the patent holder to limit the scope of access to the patented invention by the public as defined by 35 U.S.C. §271:
... whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States, or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent."
While a patent does not guarantee that an inventor has the right to practice the invention (since the invention may be covered by a broader patent owned by another individual), it does permit the inventor to prohibit a wide range of commercial activity with the patented product. This exclusionary right promotes innovation and permits research and development costs to be recouped during the term of the patent.
Aren't Monopolies Bad?
The argument that since patents are a government sanctioned monopoly they are automatically bad or evil has been argued by some who view the patent system as the tool of corporate America. However, the Founding Fathers of this country realized that without some protection for inventors and artists with respect to limited protection of their works, there would be no incentive for the creation of these important additions to our society. In fact, the framers of the Constitution placed such an importance on this protection that it is listed BEFORE each of the following powers given our government:
In fact, only the taxation power, commerce clause, immigration, coining of money and the establishment of the postal system were more important than the creation of patent and copyright rights for inventors and artists.
Kevin Mark Klughart
Registered Patent Attorney, USPTO
3825 Leisure Lane, Denton, TX 76210-5589
tel: 800-353-1211 / 940-320-0580 - fax 940-320-0581