David T. Keeling

in Intellectual Property Rights in EU Law Volume I: Free Movement and Competition Law

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780198259183
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681912 | DOI:

Series: Oxford European Union Law Library


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To argue about whether the purpose of the patent system is to reward inventors for inventing or to encourage inventors to invent is rather like arguing about the rationale of the penal system: do we punish crime because society has a moral obligation to ensure that criminals receive their just deserts or because the prospect of punishment deters potential criminals from breaking the law? To sum up, it is possible to identify one moral reason and two pragmatic reasons for granting patents to inventors. The moral reason is that inventors, rather than free-riders, should enjoy the fruits of their intellectual achievements. The pragmatic reasons are that more will be invented and more inventions will be disclosed if those who invent and then disclose their inventions are rewarded with an exclusive right to exploit them.

Keywords: patents; penal system; breaking the law; punishment; granting patents; exclusive right; intellectual achievements

Chapter.  9400 words. 

Subjects: Intellectual Property Law

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