Jefferson and Patents

From: Paul Jones <pjones[_at_]>
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 1996 13:41:00 -0400 (EDT)

As many of you know, Mr. Jefferson was the first US offical to grant patents--but he only did so on rare occasions.

Noble says in:
 America by Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism, 1979:

"The first United States Patent Law, of 1790, was administered by
Thomas Jefferson and his colleagues under very strict standards, and relatively few patents were issued."

Noble also notes:
"A proposition placed before the Constitutional convention would have
empowered Congress "to establish public institutions, rewards and immunities for the promotion of agriculture, commerce and manufactures." This was rejected by the convention in favour of one which authorized Congress "to promote the progress of science and the useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.""

I do recall reading that TJ was on the side of the final accepted language.

Still looking for TJ himself on patents and copyrights other than the quote from his letter to Isaac McPherson in 1813 which I posted earlier.

                             Paul Jones Co-Author, The Web Server Book (Ventana 1995) University of VIRGINIA - Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities
pjones[_at_]      voice: (804) 924-6594           fax: (804) 982-2363

"If You Don't Want it Printed, Don't Let it Happen" (Aspen CO Daily News)

Received on Mon Jun 24 1996 - 17:37:53 GMT

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