Patents, Information, and Innovation
59 Pages Posted: 24 May 2019 Last revised: 2 Jul 2020
Date Written: May 23, 2019
The role of patents in facilitating the exchange of information during the innovative process is highly contextual. Although numerous factors can affect the function of patents in encouraging disclosure, including the nature of the technology involved, most of the scholarship in this area has focused on two industries—biotechnology and software. To provide a richer description of the role of patents in the innovative process, this project evaluates the existing literature and sets forth examples drawn from a series of interviews conducted with medical device professionals from small and medium-sized firms. Although a small number of large corporations dominate the medical device landscape in terms of revenue, most truly innovative devices originate with small to mid-sized medical device companies. These emerging companies often depend on patent protection to help foster communication with investors and negotiate the alliances necessary to commercialize their inventions. By providing a descriptive timeline of the innovative process through a closer examination of the largely-overlooked medical device industry, this Article sets forth a more complete account of the role of patents in the larger narrative of innovation.
Keywords: patents, intellectual property, innovation, commercialization, information, disclosure, medical device, interview
JEL Classification: O3, O31, O32, O34, L2, L65
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation