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Patent (n.) A medieval economic tool by which politicians attempt to stimulate trade and wealth by banning innovation and competition in crucial areas of technology.

It is easy, but incorrect, to confuse patents with other remnants of medieval thinking such as bloodletting, witch burning, and the use of garlic to ward off infectious diseases. Patents in fact have two main functions. First, they protect inefficient and uncompetitive businesses from the ravages of the free market; second they provide an elegant model for tax avoidance, since royalties on patents are exempt of tax, or very lowly taxed, in most countries.

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