Counting spoons in patent law
IPBiz has quoted from Emerson before:
See what allowance vice finds in the respectable and well - conditioned class. If a pickpocket intrude into the society of gentlemen, they exert what moral force they have, and he finds himself uncomfortable, and glad to get away. But if an adventurer go through all the forms, procure himself to be elected to a post of trust, as of senator, or president, - though by the same arts as we detest in the house - thief, - the same gentlemen who agree to discountenance the private rogue, will be forward to show civilities and marks of respect to the public one: and no amount of evidence of his crimes will prevent them giving him ovations, complimentary dinners, opening their own houses to him, and priding themselves on his acquaintance. We were not deceived by the professions of the private adventurer, - the louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons; but we appeal to the sanctified preamble of the messages and proclamations of the public sinner, as the proof of sincerity. It must be that they who pay this homage have said to themselves, On the whole, we don`t know about this that you call honesty; a bird in the hand is better.
Elsewhere on IPBiz:
The convenience of not remembering history when discussing patent reform, noting the irony that many patent reformers, who criticize the USPTO for not finding prior art, tend to ignore prior art themselves. [Recall Emerson: the louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.]
The remark about "based on a few anecdotes" evokes Emerson's aphorism about silverware. ["The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons."]