James Watt: Monopolist
In this first chapter excerpt, Boldrin and Levine view copyright and innovation through the lens of James Watt, steam engine inventor and darling of the British patent system.
A few fun facts from the chapter:
- Watt’s patent ran from 1769-1800 (due to extra legal influence)
- During Watt’s patent, the UK added 750 horsepower of steam engines per year. In the following 30 years: 4,000 horsepower per year.
- Many innovations to the steam engine were developed before 1800, but idled until the patent expired.
- Watt couldn’t do much to improve his own design, since the most significant improvements were patented by others.
- Watt and his partner Boulton didn’t even make many steam engines during their patent, they just charged fees of those who did.