Patent Monopolies and Patent Laws

June 6, 1938

Report Outline
Patent Laws and Anti-Agitation
Development of American Patent System
Patent Pooling and Patent Suppression
Compulsory Licensing to Curb Monopoly

Patent Laws and Anti-Agitation

President roosevelt in his annual message to Congress last January cited, among other “wrongful business practices” which should be ended, “the use of patent laws to enable larger corporations to maintain high prices and withhold from the public the advantages of the progress of science.”

In a special message April 29, relating to strengthening and enforcement of the anti-trust laws, the President contended that a growing concentration of private power was “seriously impairing the economic effectiveness of private enterprise as a way of providing employment for labor and capital and as a way of assuring a more equitable distribution of income and earnings among the people of the nation as a whole.” To provide a foundation for corrective action, he proposed that “there should be a thorough study of the concentration of economic power in American industry and the effect of that concentration upon the decline of competition.” Among the subjects which the President said should be covered by the study was “amendment of the patent laws to prevent their use to suppress inventions and to create industrial monopolies.”

Conflict of Patent Rights and Monopoly Statutes

Solicitor General Robert H. Jackson pointed out, in a speech last winter on enforcement of the anti-trust laws, that “while the nation has forbidden monopolies by one set of laws, it has been creating them by another.”

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