United States Patent is in essence a "grant of rights" for a limited period. In layman's terms, it is a product development contract in which the United States government expressly permits an person or company to monopolize a specific idea for a limited time.

Typically, our government frowns on any type of monopolization in commerce, due to the belief that monopolization hinders free trade and competition, degrading our economy. A good example is the forced break-up of Bell Telephone some years in the past into the several regional cellphone companies. The government, in particular the...