It's always disappointing to see reporters who know better assume that patents are somehow a reasonable proxy for innovation. It's pretty common
, even though research has shown (many times over) that the two are not linked
. Yet, that hasn't stopped Business Week from fretting about the US losing its lead in patents
, suggesting that it's a sign of innovation moving elsewhere. Of course, it appears the source for the story is also Ocean Tomo -- the same company that fooled a reporter into believing that patent sales would increase
during the recession, just weeks before Ocean Tomo's own patent auction was a disaster
The real reason for the decline in patenting may actually be buried at the bottom of the article: companies are realizing that patents aren't particularly cost effective, and they're cutting back, focusing on actual innovation
rather than throwing money away on the patent system.