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By Fritz Machlup

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Additional info for An economic review of the patent system (Study of the Subcommittee on Patents, Trade-marks, and Copyrights of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, study)

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When any business involves a large sunk cost or has a descending cost curve, and therefore a descending supply curve, competition becomes of the cutthroat kind. Even if we deny our sympathy to those producers who lose by such competition, we must not fail to note that in the end consumers will lose also. The reason is that when cutthroat competition is feared, ,producers will avoid sinking capital in the enterprise. It is largely in recognition of this fact and in order to encourage such investment that patents and copyrights are given.

3h3L Id.. p. 30. " Emnomlm,newseries, vol. I (1934),pp. 46-97, lei One nods occas~onnlcomments on the desirability of a shorter dnration for petty patents-as is Proon the praotimbility of a flexible duration to be set by the courts to allow vided in the German law-r reasonable prolits from the invention-as provided in the Australian law :but no attempts to apply e m nomic analysis to the problem. 1~~ In other places Marshall had proposed that industries operating under < '. increasing returns" be given "bounties" (government subsidies) in order to induce them to expand faster than they would otherwise, and thus to realize greater economies of scale.

62-66, AN ECONOMIC REVIEW OF THE PATEST SPSryEM 37 involved mav be too great to be undertaken except under the shelter of a monopol$ grant. A. T. Hadley was one of the many who stressed this point: A patent system, if properly guarded, seems to be thoroughly justified by its results. I n the absence of such protection few new inventibns would be developed. The risk attending the introduction of a new process is always great. Even when it works thoroughly well in the laboratory or model room, i t may not work well in public.

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An economic review of the patent system (Study of the Subcommittee on Patents, Trade-marks, and Copyrights of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, study) by Fritz Machlup


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