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Article
August 27, 1910

Patenting Instruments and Apparatus

JAMA. 1910;55(9):793. doi:10.1001/jama.1910.04330090067025

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Abstract

To the Editor:  A word by way of protest against the patenting of newly devised surgical instruments and apparatus by physicians. It has long been held that any improvement in the armamentarium of the physician should be given to the profession for the benefit of the sick and afflicted. For a physician to patent a method of laboratory technic or apparatus whose purpose is to aid in the diagnosis or prevention of disease is no worse from an ethical standpoint than the patenting of a surgical instrument.The argument that the physician should profit in this way from his ingenuity and knowledge is fallacious. Otherwise the most laudable efforts of present-day medicine, the prevention of disease, should have no legitimate place in the physician's work.A most glaring example of this evil has been the recent exploitation of a set of instruments for perforating the skull, which have been patented.

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