* You Have A Constitutional Right To Patents And Guns – But Not To Trademarks Or Privacy (Go Figure)

17 Seconds #98. Useful Info Quickly.

From 2011-2013, I taught the Patent Law 101 class as an adjunct professor at Maine Law. I also created the patent law 101 category on this website for articles covering basic concepts in patent law.

The United States Constitution is our country’s most important legal document. The structure of our government comes from the Constitution. So do many individual rights. When teaching patent law, I began every class by reciting the following 32 words from Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution:

“The Congress shall have Power … To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;”

All of our patent laws derive from these 32 words.

But since trademarks are not mentioned in the Constitution, there is nothing preventing the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) from revoking trademark rights, and leaving it up to the states to protect these rights (or not). Trademarks? Not in the Constitution. Women’s rights, LGBTQ rights? Not in the Constitution. (Trust me, SCOTUS scanned the Constitution, OCRed the Constitution, and looked very very carefully for these words – but did not find them.)

A constitutional right is a good gig – if you can get it. But perhaps it’s time to amend the Constitution.


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