Patently Good: A defence of intellectual property

A new report by Ben Southwood, fellow of the Adam Smith Institute, makes the liberal utilitarian case for patent law:

  • Property rights are good not “just because”, but because of how they contribute to human flourishing

  • Patents are, like other property rights, an automatic market mechanism making use of decentralised information and robust to shocks, unlike prizes, which require some sort of central direction

  • Patents encourage information to come into the open, but they limit how you can use that info

  • Intellectual property rights can be too stringent, but it’s unclear whether we’ve reached that point yet