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Re: Gates Patents Flipping a Light Switch

From: T . Max Devlin
Subject: Re: Gates Patents Flipping a Light Switch
Date: Sun, 16 May 2004 17:16:12 -0400

On Sun, 16 May 2004 15:14:43 -0400, Barry Margolin
<> wrote:

>In article <>,
> T. Max Devlin <> wrote:
>> I believe that either Mr. Schmo or Mr. Gates
>> would be in violation of the Sherman Act should they seek to use their
>> ownership of this patent to secure market share in preference to
>> market size, regardless of whether it is OK or not as a patent.
>Aren't patents effectively a legalized monopoly?

Aren't all property rights effectively a legalized monopoly?  The
Sherman Act outlaws monopolizing.  The law is noteably silent on
whether "a monopoly" is or is not illegal.  But monopolizing is never

>Could normal use of a 
>patent really be considered a violation of the Sherman Act?

Depends on if you think using predatory leverage to inhibit free
market competition is "normal use" or not.  Even if "all you are doing
is defending your property rights", that may itself be monopolizing.
It is a well defined premise of law that anti-trust trumps
intellectual property.  If by "just" owning something you are
monopolizing (if what you do results in unreasonable restraint of
trade in the putatively free market), then you are breaking anti-trust
law, regardless of whether you are also breaking some other law.

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