More Patent Applications Do Not Mean More Innovation
from the just-so-you-know dept
It's important to remember here that more patents do not mean more innovation -- and it's unfortunate that so many people equate the two. Thomas Jefferson was famous for not trusting the patent system, even as he was in charge of it -- even to the point of questioning how Constitutional it was to give a monopoly on an idea to one person. He basically felt that patents only made sense in the rarest of circumstances. If the market is providing the proper incentive for innovation, why grant a government monopoly? So, whenever we see reports championing making it easier to get a patent, or celebrating the fact that more patents are being filed as an indicator of innovation, we cringe. With the US patent office using a "when in doubt, approve" standard for granting patents, it's become increasingly easy to get a patent that has no actual innovative component. This has only resulted in more patent filings from those looking to cash in by holding innovation hostage, rather than actually benefiting society by bringing new and better products to market. So, while it may be good to see investment dollars pouring into the Chinese market, focusing on how many foreign patent applications (or grants) there are may mean very little in terms of real innovation.