Intellectual Property Laws: Accelerating Genius or Ruining the World?

Thomas L. Stoll

©2016. Published in Landslide, Vol. 8, No. 6, July/August 2016, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

Intellectual property (IP) attorneys all seem to know that IP laws are extremely beneficial to society, in fact, necessary for promoting innovation. We appreciate that the patent laws provide the incentive for inventors and companies to invest in the development of new technologies by knowing their investment can be protected. Abraham Lincoln described the beneficial effect that patent laws have on innovation as “add[ing] the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.” They also aid society by encouraging the disclosure of that “genius” by even the smallest of companies, without fear that their new ideas will be stolen. Companies armed with intellectual property are often a better bet than those without, raising certainty and attracting investors.

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