I addressed the question in my Mises Blog post, Are Patents “Monopolies”?:
On occasion you get some defender of patents who is upset when we use the m-word to describe these artificial state-granted monopoly rights. For example here one Dale Halling, a patent attorney (surprise!) posts about “The Myth that Patents are a Monopoly” and writes, ” People who suggest a patent is a monopoly are not being intellectually honest and perpetuating a myth to advance a political agenda.”
Well, let’s see. First, see my post Epstein and Patents, noting that the pro-patent Epstein writes:
Patented goods are subject to a lawful monopoly created by the state in order to induce their creation. No one thinks that new pharmaceutical drugs will be invented by private firms that cannot receive a rate of return sufficient to recover [various costs]. … The legal monopoly granted by the patent is the only mechanism that allows the producer to recover those fixed costs….
Is the pro-patent Epstein being dishonest?
Update: In Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to James Madison, August 28, 1789 (On the liberty to write, speak, and publish and its limits), he proposes to James Madison, then in the process of drafting the Bill of Rights, that the following be incorporated into the Bill of Rights:
Art. 9. Monopolies may be allowed to persons for their own productions in literature and their own inventions in the arts for a term not exceeding — years but for no longer term and no other purpose.