Anyway, Choate is at least fair in recognising that "as an industrializing nation in the 19th century the United States engaged in many of the practices that it condemns today, including industrial espionage. He recounts the tales of Samuel Slater, who brought secret British spinning machine technology to the United States, and Francis Cabot Lowell, a Boston patrician who used his photographic memory to steal the trade secrets of British textile manufacturers. ''The most important feature of the Patent Act of 1793,'' Choate writes, ''was what it did not provide: protections for foreign inventors. Only American citizens were eligible for a U.S. patent. Thus, any American could bring a foreign innovation to the United States and commercialize the idea, all with total legal immunity.'' In later generations, Germany and Japan similarly manipulated intellectual property rights."
Finally, Choate makes the claim that "Piracy and counterfeiting impede innovation: thieves do not invest in research, design, production, development or advertising". This is true, but I don't think it's an absolute. For example, most technical innovations that could be used for copyright infringement were fought by the copyright industry (the latest being p2p, of course), and they've often resulted in increased sales and increased revenue for the copyright owners. On the other side, relying on a popular copyrighted character (for example, Mickey Mouse) can make copyright holders lazy in producing other characters, not to mention that many patents impede innovation by making research and development more difficult.