Increasing the Social Value of Patents

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter considers the problematic topic of patent quality and its relation to the incentive to innovate. Today the consensus is quite broad that too many patents are granted, many for only trivial improvements over prior art, and that the patent notice process is sorely deficient. There are also concerns regarding competition policy. When patents are granted on obvious products or processes, an exclusive right has effectively been created over something that in the natural course of things would have been developed independently by many different people. As a result innovation has not been furthered one bit but rather a power to exclude from an otherwise competitive market has been created. By the same token, lack of effective notice or overly abstract patent claims harm competition by failing to give others timely communication about what has been patented by others.


patent quality, innovation, incentives, competition policy

Publication Title

Creation without Restraint: Promoting Liberty and Rivalry in Innovation