Does the Patent System Promote Scientific Innovation? Empirical Analysis of Patent Forward Citations
50 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2015 Last revised: 8 Sep 2015
Date Written: 2015
This Article sets out to examine the question whether the patent system should continue incentivizing innovation produced by an individual inventive entity in light of the increasing need for collaboration in scientific research and development (R&D).
The patent system views innovation as an individual endeavor. The underlying justifications of the patent system place significant emphasis on the individual inventive entity. This perception is contrary to the way current innovation theories view innovation production and to how scientific R&D is conducted in practice. Current innovation theories view collaboration as central to the innovation process, as the ever growing complexity of scientific R&D dictates the need for scientists to work in collaboration as one researcher or research organization can no longer hold all the expertise and resources needed to advance science and produce innovation.
This Article uses data collected on stem cell research, mainly patent forward citations, as these citations serve as a proxy for the innovative level of the protected technology. As this Article further discusses, innovation in the patent system focuses on the individual inventive entity. Nevertheless, the analysis presented here shows that higher rates of innovation are achieved through collaborative R&D activities as opposed to individual endeavors.
The Article argues that by focusing on incentivizing the individual inventive entity, the patent system misrepresents how innovation is produced, the same innovation it seeks to promote. It concludes thus with an appeal to policymakers to address the disparity between how the patent system views innovation production and how scientific innovation is produced in practice.
Keywords: Patent system, innovation, collaboration, scientific R&D, innovation measurement, patent forward citations
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