Benjamin Franklin Quotes

I declined it. As we enjoy great advantage from the invention of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously.

Even before being an independent country, America had two contrasting and contradictory views of patents—the one that Franklin herein states and the one what was written into the constitution that argued that by granting patents inventors would be incentivized to make their trade secrets public if they had an exclusive monopoly on if for a period of time. Both of these philosophies towards patents have coexisted since then. There was a Federal patent system for those who wanted to use it, and for those who did not, they could enter the invention to the public domain as Franklin urged. Arguably, we have obtained the best of both approaches. Millions of patents have been filed and granted and yet some of the most important inventions have followed the Franklin approach. See the quotes about the Salk Polio Vaccine—{29154} and {29187} and the quote on "open source" computer software—{29676}. With billions of dollars being made by protected software in the early 21st century, over half of the world's computers were operating on systems that was public domain and without charge as just one large example of the Franklin philosophy still coexisting.
Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
  • Born: January 17, 1706
  • Died: April 17, 1790
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Politician

Benjamin Franklin FRS FRSE was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He founded many civic organizations, including the Library Company, Philadelphia's first fire department and the University of Pennsylvania.