Patents, Information, and Innovation

69 Pages Posted: 24 May 2019 Last revised: 22 Jan 2020

See all articles by Brenda M. Simon

Brenda M. Simon

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ; California Western School of Law; Thomas Jefferson School of Law

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

Simon, Brenda M., Patents, Information, and Innovation (May 23, 2019). Brooklyn Law Review, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Brenda M. Simon (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

California Western School of Law ( email )

225 Cedar Street
San Diego, CA 92101
United States

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

701 B Street
Suite 110
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
619-961-4307 (Phone)

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