The origin of patents is in the Constitution. Patents are not exactly a new idea. You may not realize that the U.S. Constitution mandated a patent system. Article I, section 8, the U.S. Constitution states:
Congress shall have power . . . 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.
You might think of a patent as a contract between you and the government. The contract gives you a limited monopoly in return for your duty to fully disclose your invention to the public. This has always been the fundamental idea behind patents – entice the inventor to disclose the invention by giving the inventor something in return. Thus the public eventually benefits because technology is spread around for all to use. The limited monopoly begins with the issuance of the patent and lasts for 20 years after the filing date of the patent.
Patents are a federal thing. There are no state patents. Governed by the Patent Act (35 U.S.C.), which established the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the USPTO).
The Origin of Patents
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