A Reason Why a Patent System Is Necessary

With so many companies and courts attacking the patent system and seeking to effectively gut the entire value of the patent system, the question arises as to whether the patent system does any good at all.  One answer can be seen from history.  The Roman Empire had no patent system and most of the really valuable and practical technology was essentially composed of trade secrets directly passed on by one craftsman to another.  One example was concrete – the Romans knew how to make and use concrete, both regular concrete and concrete that could set underwater.  When the Roman Empire collapsed, this technology was lost because there was no patent system to act as a repository of technical knowledge.  The secret of how to make and use concrete was not re-discovered until well into the 19th Century in England.  In other words, the entire human race took an astounding 1400 years to re-discover technology once known to the Romans.  If the human race was to once again descend into a dark age, the technology currently known and stored in the patent system is unlikely to be fully lost.  But if the patent system is effectively destroyed, then the loss of technical knowledge for centuries or even millennia could once again be repeated.

Author: Megan

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