Marc Ehrlich

Recent Articles by Do Patents Promote Innovation? The Market is the Final Arbiter

Do Patents Promote Innovation? The Market is the Final Arbiter

In my opinion the best way to judge the success or failure of the patent system is by looking broadly at the type of competition it enables or disables in the marketplace. And that doesn’t mean focusing solely on patent litigation statistics – of course there are going to be fights when such a high stakes prize as mobile computing is up for grabs and of course firms competing with such different business models are going to come into conflict. But look at what that competition has done for innovation and product advances and for consumer choice and pricing. You need the option of patent protection to provide the necessary freedom of choice in market approach, (whether it is open, proprietary or a blend of both), to enable competition between firms employing different market approaches and the innovation engendered by that competition.. The correct focus for this issue is not the intrinsic merit of the concept of patent protection, but rather what the existence of patents does to promote business model diversity and what that in turn does to promote innovation. This is the important point and at least in my view it seems clear that having patents enables more business model diversity and consequently more innovation than not having them.