Thomas Jefferson on patents

Posted on2011-10-08 13:36

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.

from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to Isaac McPherson, 13 Aug. 1813