The Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property
The Free State Foundation, 'Perspectives from FSF Scholars', Vol. 8, No. 13, May 10, 2013
5 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2013
Date Written: May 2013
This is the first in a series of relatively short papers exploring foundational principles of intellectual property. This essay explores the Lockean natural rights philosophical premises upon which the foundation of the Constitution's IP Clause rests. The American constitutional order is premised on the idea that government exists to protect life, liberty, and property, and our Framers were influenced significantly by John Locke's assertion that individuals possess a natural right to the fruits of their own labor. The essay shows that James Madison, principal drafter of our Constitution, embraced the Lockean view concerning property rights protection.
Keywords: intellectual property, natural rights, IP protection, Intellectual Property Clause, John Locke, James Madison
JEL Classification: K11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation