Home » Ethics » Jefferson on the “Embarrassment” of Patents

Jefferson on the “Embarrassment” of Patents

Thomas Jefferson, making a case for the “embarrassment” of patents,

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.

-Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Isaac McPherson, 13 August 1813

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_8s12.html

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