In this paper I examine Jeremy Bentham’s arguments in favour of patents in light of his description of the five harms associated with monopolies. I find while these harms can be reduced by the limited duration and specific definition of patents, the existence of these harms means that a utilitarian (like Bentham) would have to support an alternative to patents if it produced the same positive results without the monopoly harms.

This paper was published in Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics in 2009, where it received 3rd place in the Annual Crossroads Postgraduate Short Essay Competition.

The PDF of this paper is available here: beneficial_monopoly.pdf