D O C U M E N T 2 7 8 O N I N V E N T O R S & I N V E N T I O N S 2 7 5 278. On Inventors and Inventions [Berlin, after 3] October 1928[1] Answer to questionnaire concerning inventions and inventors from Dr. A. Targon- ski of Berlin, the former head of the patent bureau of the Russian agency BINT.[2] 1) By “inventor,” I mean a person who discovers a novel combination of already known elements allowing the most economical satisfaction of human needs. 2) The ability for free, constructive thinking, as well as the pleasure taken therein, along with the associated suffering, is innate. One can no more invent things without knowledge than one can write poetry without language. For the most part, knowledge is dependent on the advantages that the individual happens to have—schooling, insight into industries and their current problems—and thus innate ability is in no way the sole condition, even if it is also an indispensable one, for producing an invention that is valuable for society. 3) The inventor must have the drive to create, passion, perseverance, knowledge, and insight into the problems of business. He descends not from a “group” but from intellectually active predecessors. 4) In what pigeonhole the inventor should be placed seems to me a secondary question. The problem is rather how to distinguish the valuable inventor from the large number of illusionists and to provide him with an opportunity to realize the ideas that are worth realizing. 5) I would not recommend the creation of a society of inventors because of the difficulty of finding inventors. I am convinced that it would lead to a society of idle loafers. Instead I would recommend a smaller commission to examine inventions and possibly to promote their realization. At least I am inclined to think that this would be natural in a state that has itself taken into its own hands the leading role in the economy. 6) All invention serves to increase the quotients quantities of goods produced labor expended. 7) In a free economy, the right to have a monopoly on the exploitation of inven- tions is necessary as a stimulus for inventors’ activity […][3] through the systematic support for inventions and inventors. In a state with a planned economy, a monop- oly on inventions seems to me to make sense only for the state as a whole with re- gard to other states. In that case the damage done by the monopoly disappears. On [p. 1] [p. 2]
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