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Scant attention has been paid to the historical trajectory and effect of the United States’ intellectual property regimes—patenting, copyrighting, and trademarking—as devices which implement racialized property grants and further income and social inequality. This article focuses on just that and argues that the United States Constitution was designed as a property-based and economically-driven social compact which identifies intellectual property interests through a racialized lens. From this view, it is further argued that the Intellectual Property Clause, which itself was designed to incentivize invention and innovation, protected the racialized property interests of the governing elites of the newly established government and country. This pattern of property protection extends into the present and continues to result in vast inequalities in personal incomes and social positions, and in our scientific and technological communities.


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