From a letter by Thomas Jefferson to a friend describing one of Jefferson’s inventions, an improved method for “the braking and beating [of] hemp”:
Something of this kind has been so long wanted by the cultivators of hemp, that as soon as I can speak of its effect with certainty I shall probably describe it anonymously in the public papers, in order to forestall the prevention of its use by some interloping patentee.
–Lewis Hyde, Frames from the Framers: How American’s Revolutionaries Imagined Intellectual Property
(H/t Bruce Hobbs, via Kevin Carson)
(See also my post Defensive Patent Publishing)