Heritage Foundation: The Constitutionalist and Utilitarian Justifications for Strong U.S. Patent and Copyright Systems, Alden Abbott
This post originally appeared in the Heritage Foundation blog on June 21, 2016
Intellectual property (IP) is increasingly important to the American private economy, and a discussion of the appropriate public policy toward IP is timely, particularly given the recent growth in public skepticism toward IP rights. Robust federal protection for IP is not just important to America’s economic future, but also consistent with constitutional originalism and the early U.S. historical understanding of the nature and role of IP.
Critical scrutiny has focused on the federal patent and copyright systems, which are authorized by the Patent and Copyright Clause (IP Clause) of the U.S. Constitution. The following discussion of IP also focuses on patents and copyrights. The other two principal forms of intellectual property, trademarks and trade secrets, are the subject of federal legislation pursuant to the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as protections in state law. These forms have received less critical attention lately and are beyond the scope of this commentary.