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December 20, 1919


JAMA. 1919;73(25):1887. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610510025015

In the various scientific departments of the national government, workers have discovered new methods of procedure, or new products, which gave promise of benefit to mankind. Many of these discoveries have been patented and dedicated to public use, though relatively few have yielded practical results, the ideas having been a contribution to academic discussion rather than a stimulus to industry. The reason is apparent: Capital will not venture in a new industrial enterprise unless it has some degree of protection during the developing period — that is, a limited monopoly. A concomitant drawback under our present system of public owned patents has been the lack of reward or adequate recognition of the government inventor; this dulls the incentive to create new improvements or useful additions.

As an attempt to remedy these evils, there has been introduced recently in both houses of Congress a bill1 "authorizing the Federal Trade Commission