Property Rights and Property Rules for Commercializing Inventions

Intellectual Property and Competition Policy and Antitrust

Article Snapshot


F. Scott Kieff


Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 85, pg. 697, 2001


This article offers a new view of the benefits of the patent system.

Policy Relevance

Alternatives to patents, such as rewards, do not help innovators commercialize a product. Patents work something like property rights in protecting innovation. Patents can be tools for challenging monopoly.

Main Points

  • Some observers have proposed alternatives to the patent system.
    • One alternative would provide rewards to innovators.
    • Another would be for the government to buy out innovators and put the ideas in the public domain.

  • Neither alternative moves ideas all the way from capital investment to successful product, or helps determine which ideas are worth protecting.

  • Patents work something like a property right, giving the innovator a right to restrict use.

  • Patents can be tools for avoiding or challenging monopolies, which explains why strong patent laws are consistent with antitrust.

Get The Article

Find the full article online

Search for Full Article