Intellectual property

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General topic

  • "I believe in intellectual property. In my view, it's the foundation of world economies, and certainly the foundation upon which Sun Microsystems was built. Copyright, trademark, patent - I believe in them all. I also believe in innovation and competition - and that these beliefs are not mutually exclusive." — Jonathan I. Schwartz
    • President and COO of Sun Microsystems, September 30, 2004 [1].
  • "And having said it before, let me say it again. I believe in IP. I believe in its value, both economic and social. I believe it should be protected, as any other property, as a means of fostering independence, investment and autonomy. And not just in wealthy nations - but in those struggling to build wealth or pay down debt. I believe the creation, protection and evolution of intellectual property can accelerate everyone's ability to participate in an open network...And that, surely, should be everyone's common goal with free and open source software. It's not about bringing the competition down, it's about driving global participation up." — Jonathan I. Schwartz
    • President and COO of Sun Microsystems, April 4, 2005 [2].
  • "If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property." — Thomas Jefferson
    • Founding Father and author of United States Declaration of Independence, quoted in letter to Isaac McPherson [3].
  • "The future of the nation depends in no small part on the efficiency of industry, and the efficiency of industry depends in no small part on the protection of intellectual property." — Judge Richard Posner
    • Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Rockwell Graphic Systems, Inc. v. DEV Industries, 925 F.2d 174 (1991)[4].
  • "Overregulation stifles creativity. It smothers innovation. It gives dinosaurs a veto over the future. It wastes the extraordinary opportunity for a democratic creativity that digital technology enables."


  • "Software's the ultimate durable good, which of course in economics makes it a very, very competitive market" — Bill Gates
    • Microsoft Chairman quoted in Washington Post, March 9, 1998


  • "Whether two molecules are (dis)similar is in the eye of the beholder. Scientists look to fool the receptor - but you really want to fool the patent office."
    • S. Stanley Young (2008), assistant director of bioinformatics, National Institute of Statistical Sciences. Appearing in: Lipp, Elizabeth, "Novel Approaches to Lead Optimization", Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, 2008-08-01, pp. 20, 22. URL accessed on 2008-09-28.