Research Paper 52, August 2014

Tackling the Proliferation of Patents: How to Avoid Undue Limitations to Competition and the Public Domain

The steady increase in patent applications and grants that is taking place in developed and some developing countries (notably in China) is sometimes hailed as evidence of the strength of global innovation and of the role of the patent system in encouraging it. However, such an increase does not correspond to a genuine augmentation in innovation. It points instead to a major deviation of the patent system away from its intended objective: to reward those who contribute to technological progress by creating new and inventive products and processes. Firms are increasingly using patents for strategic purposes.

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