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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PP. lY3-134. ~uJohn Bares cisrk,op. , supra, note 151, P. 3M. 101 1 I : I m n g Flshrr, OD. clt.. supra, note 147, P. 331. 38 AN ECONOMIC REVIEW OF THE PATENT SYSTEM i t be assumed that inventors would cease to be employed if ent~epreneurslost the monopoly over the use of their inventions. Businesses employ them today for the production of nonpatentable inventions, and they do not do so merely for the profit which priority secures. I n active competition, the condition in which new devices are most promptly imitated, no business can afford to lag behind its cornpetiton.

This is stated, for example, by Edith T. Penrose: * * * One man may spend his life developing a great idea for which society is not ready; another may perfect a bright idea in a n evening for a clever gadget which society is willing t o buy in large quantities and t o pay millions of dollars for. 1" That there is no functional relat,ion between the earnings under a patent (or its money value) and the "social usefulness" of the invention which it covers-and that, therefore, these earnings (or money value) cannot serve as an "index of usefulness" for inventions-was clear to all who realized that some great inventions require years or decades before they, and the markets for the products, are adequately develo ed, whiie other inventions can be commercially exploited with a&lost no delay.

Egislation for flexible periods of protection, especially for extensions of the patent in deserving cases. On this question of a flexible, fixed, or extensible duration of patent protection, Sir Arnold Plant made an interesting observation, adding a suggestion for an abridgeable term: The term of the patent grant must inevitably be arbitrarily determined, even if each invention were separately considered. ications for extensions, the "nature and merits" of an invention; in order t o dec~dewhether the patentee has been "inadequately remunerated" and the period, if any, for which an extension shall be granted.

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