In drafting Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution, the framers of that document achieved the dual purpose of establishing the basis for the U.S. patent system as well as the copyright system. The clause sets forth three balanced phrases-“science and the useful arts,” “authors and inventors,” and “writings and discoveries”—to refer to copyrights and patents, respectively. By focusing on the words science, authors, and writings, the clause may be read as follows:

The Congress shall have the power…to promote the progress of science…by securing for limited times to authors…the exclusive rights to their…writings.