The Rise and Fall of the First Patent Thicket: The Sewing Machine War of the 1850s

 53 Ariz. L. Rev. 165 (2011).  Adam Mossoff, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law.

After Professor Michael Heller proposed that excessively fragmented property rights in land can frustrate its commercial development, patent scholars have debated vigorously whether Heller’s anticommons theory applies to property rights in inventions. Do these “patent thickets” exist, and if so, what are the best solutions? This article contributes to this debate by analyzing the rise and fall of the first American patent thicket: the “Sewing Machine War” of the 1850s. Full text available on SSRN:

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This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Gridlock Economy Conference 2009