What's the Value of a Patent?

Reducing the current backlog of over 750,000 patent applications and unleashing the technological advances they represent can significantly bolster the U. S. economy and increase American jobs.  This is a point made by many experts including David Kappos, the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and a recent White Paper from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

If Congress passes fair and balanced patent reform legislation -- the bipartisan "Managers' Amendment" to S. 515 --   the  U.S. patent system would be greatly improved.  Both the patent application process at PTO and the patent litigation system would be more objective and predictable.

But what is the real value of patent reform? The answer can be easily summed up with the following: innovation, jobs, and economic growth.  According to the White Paper, innovation is responsible for three-quarters of the United States economic growth rate since World War II, yet the current patent backlog is costing the United States economy "billions of dollars annually in 'forgone innovation'."

In the bio-pharmaceutical industry patents are particularly important as, "a 10% increase in the strength of patent protection available to meritorious patents is associated with a 9-10% increase in R&D expenditures, which in turn drives innovation and growth." For our industry, the value of a patent extends beyond jobs and economic growth to treatments and cures for patients suffering from unmet medical needs.