Abstract: Although Michel Chevalier was an influential economist during the second half of the nineteenth century, and is well-known as an architect of the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty, his work in economics has been largely forgotten. In particular, Chevalier is notable for being one of the only French liberals opposed to patents. Unfortunately, his original and compelling critique of the patent system has been neglected. This paper rediscovers Chevalier’s arguments against patents, shows why they are still relevant today, and explains why they have been mostly ignored by historians of economic thought.
See also Michel Chevalier and patents: Ownership or privilege, by Louis Rouanet, Institut Coppet.