The Laboratorium (3d ser.)

A blog by James Grimmelmann

Soyez réglé dans votre vie et ordinaire afin
d'être violent et original dans vos oeuvres.

Kill-All's Patented Rat Trap

For example, I think that references to patents, so ancient and pervasive in sales literature, are just such a move. It may be in part that the word “patent” is used to stand in for “clever” or “cunning,” and it certainly is true that “patented” is often central to that classic and powerful product-differentiation technique, “Kill-All’s Patented Rat Trap.” But it is also the case that having a patent means that one has a governmentally approved right coercively (through legal action) to exclude competitors from particular cost-cutting processes for a very long time (specifically seventeen years). The power of “our patented process” may inhere in this triple reference power, but the most important of the three may be to indicate this commercial rara avis, sole licit durability of a competitive advantage.

—Arthur Leff, Swindling and Selling 127–28 (1976)