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Create or Perish - The Case for Inventions and Patents
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Create or Perish - The Case for Inventions and Patents

Author : Robert H. Rines, Department of Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Publication Date : 1964

Excerpts from the Introduction:

Robert H. Rines wrote:
The American patent system needs no apologists. Though it may not be entirely suited in all respects to our current problems and needs, and though sometimes it may have been misused, its record of achievement in the progress of our country is indelibly written on the pages of history. Its current service, despite the fact that it is not being fully utilized in the second half of the century, seems to me equally indisputable; though some critics without firsthand experience in this field may not agree. Those critics are free to write their own books.

I have undertaken to write mine as a champion of the philosophy that today, as much as ever, incentives that make a person fight to be an individual promote the welfare the whole state. In my lectures, many of which have been included in this book, I frankly paint a picture, particularly for engineers and applied scientists, that is based on this philosophy and thus supports patents.

But invention, patents, and innovation cannot be treated apart from their social, political, and economic environment, despite mechanistic courses given in law schools. Thus, to review the principles of patent law without delving into the interplay of many aspects of our society would be to discuss a theoretical, nonexistent system. This book, therefore, is not addressed solely to engineers and applied scientists; some parts are addressed to lawyers, economists, businessmen, and politicians.

I have found the problem of presenting all facets so that they may be understood by readers of quite varied disciplines to be not without difficulty. For this reason illustrations have been confined to technology that can readily be comprehended by nontechnicians, and legal and economic discussions have been kept sufficiently elementary to be grasped at least in part by the technical reader, but without sacrificing the point intended for the legalist or economist.

Those who expect an engineering “cookbook” approach to this subject will not find it here. Similarly, those who look for a presentation in the form of a Procrustean “case study” will be equally disappointed.

To write an interdisciplinary book requires a mixture of interdisciplinary techniques, and so I have tried to interweave history, primary principles, procedures, problems, and points of conflict into what I believe to be the true fabric pattern of the patent system, struggling to stay alive in a world of rapid change. Because of this somewhat unorthodox approach, I have summarized the scope of each chapter at its head, and, in some cases, the reason for the approach used in order that the reader may better understand my mode or presentation.

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