Stephan Kinsella

Stephan Kinsella
Stephan Kinsella

Norman Stephan Kinsella (born 1965) is an American intellectual property lawyer and libertarian legal theorist. His electronically published works are primarily published on his blog and websites associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute and anarcho-capitalist organizations.



Born in Prairieville, Louisiana, he attended Louisiana State University where he earned Bachelor of Science (BS) and Master of Science (MS) degrees in electrical engineering, and a Juris Doctor (JD) from the Paul M. Hebert Law Center. He also obtained an LL.M. at the University of London.

Career in law

Kinsella is general counsel of Applied Optoelectronics, Inc. of Sugar Land, Texas. A practicing intellectual property attorney and former adjunct professor of law at South Texas College of Law, where he taught computer law, Kinsella is actively involved with libertarian legal and political theory, and is an adjunct scholar of the Mises Institute as well as the former Book Review Editor for the Institute's Journal of Libertarian Studies. He is also a contributor to the news and opinion blog at and is the creator of Libertarian Papers, a peer-reviewed online journal published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.[1]

He writes that, after college, he "began to put more emphasis on Austrian economics and paleolibertarian insights of Rothbard, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, and Rockwell."[2]


Kinsella's legal publications include books and articles about patent law, contract law, e-commerce law, international law and other topics. Kinsella has also published and lectured on a variety of libertarian topics, often combining libertarian and legal analysis. Kinsella's views on contract theory, causation and the law, intellectual property, and rights theory (in particular his estoppel theory) are his main contributions to libertarian theory.

In contract theory, he extends Murray Rothbard's[3] and Williamson Evers's[4] title transfer theory of contract linking it with inalienability theory while also attempting to clarify that theory.[5] Kinsella advances a theory of causation that attempts to explain why remote actors can be liable under libertarian theory.[6] He gives non-utilitarian arguments for intellectual property being incompatible with libertarian property rights principles.[7] He offers a discourse ethics argument for the justification of individual rights, using an extension of the concept of estoppel.[8]



  1. ^ Kinsella, Stephan. "Welcome to Libertarian Papers. 22 January 2009. [1]
  2. ^ "Stephan Kinsella."
  3. ^ Rothbard, Murray. The Ethics of Liberty Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute.
  4. ^ Evers, Williamson. "Toward a Reformulation of the Law of Contracts." Journal of Libertarian Studies. Vol. 1, No. 1. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1977.
  5. ^ Kinsella, Stephan. "A Libertarian Theory of Contract: Title Transfer, Binding Promises, and Inalienability. Journal of Libertarian Studies. Vol 17, No 2. Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2003. pp. 11–37.
  6. ^ Kinsella, Stephan. "Causation and Aggression" Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. Vol. 7, No. 4. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2004.
  7. ^ Kinsella, Stephan. "Against Intellectual Property" Journal of Libertarian Studies. Vol. 15, No. 2. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2001.
  8. ^ Kinsella, Stephan. "A Libertarian Theory of Punishment and Rights"

External links

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