I welcome this opportunity of speaking to you on the subject of patents. I do not suppose that I have any need, before this audience, to counter the view of patents, which is held in certain quarters, that inventions are crazy and that patent specifications are objects of mere curiosity. It may well be, however, that some of you regard the territory of patents as if you were confronted by that all too familiar warning ‘Trespassers will be prosecuted’. I should therefore like to stress at the very beginning that the Patent System works not only for the benefit of the inventor but also for the benefit of the public in general and for the benefit of industry in particular. The intention of the patent system is perhaps very well expressed in the constitution of the United States, where under Article I, Section 8, Congress is empowered ‘to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries’.
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