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Trade Secrets: Intellectual Piracy and the Origins of by Doron Ben-Atar

By Doron Ben-Atar

In the course of the first a long time of America's lifestyles as a country, deepest electorate, voluntary institutions, and executive officers inspired the smuggling of eu innovations and artisans to the recent international. even as, the younger republic used to be constructing regulations that set new criteria for safeguarding business techniques. This ebook lines the evolution of America's contradictory method of highbrow estate rights from the colonial interval to the age of Jackson.

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Extra resources for Trade Secrets: Intellectual Piracy and the Origins of American Industrial Power

Example text

All in all ten major laws were passed between 1695 and 1799 against the emigration of artisans and the export of machinery. They covered the metal, clock, glass, pottery, harness, mining, and certain machine-making trades as well as textiles. ’’∞∑ Paradoxically, the battery of regulations against the export of machinery and migration of skilled workers stimulated rather than suppressed e√orts to recruit artisans and get hold of protected machinery. Industrial espionage and technology piracy were common practice for practically every European country with any ambitions to industrialize.

Competitors within the Empire When the colonies began to produce finished goods that competed with English and Scottish industries, the imperial mood swung against allowing free flow of machine and skilled workers across the Atlantic. As early as 1666 London began to check westward transfer of technology by prohibiting the export of frames for knitting to the colonies. The growing concern in London over technology di√usion found its way into o≈cial policy in the fundamental rules of the Empire—the Navigation Acts.

Imperial policy allowed and even encouraged the recruitment of skilled workers and the transfer of technology to the New World. Recruiting agents and imperial companies openly tried to entice workers to come and help found the colonial economies. ∏ The Board of Trade also promoted colonial appropriation of technologies from England’s rivals in Europe. Mills were central to the colonial economies as they were used for a variety of functions, from grinding grain to sawing logs into planks. Practically every colonial village built at least one water-powered mill.

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