PATENTS: ARE THEY BOLSTERING ECONOMIC GROWTH OR NOT?

The economic growth derived out of the patenting system outweighs the drawbacks it carries.

In the 21st century, it is assumed that everyone is fully abreast of the real-time and theoretical utility of the patenting system which is used in almost all the countries of the world today. Under a World Trade Organization’s (WTO) agreement, patents are to be made available to all the member states for any technological inventions that are novel, useful and non-obvious. The system of patents is not a century-old practice, it has been in use since the “Age of Enlightenment” and since then, has been protecting the interests of the inventors of various products and processes. This being said, it may as well be assumed that the system of patents is all about the rewards and does not involve any scourging costs. However, there are always two sides to a coin and the flip-sides cannot go unnoticed. It is very imperative to weigh the balance in this context and see how much of a boon or a bane is the patenting system for any economy since economies are the fundamental structures on which the prosperity of every nation lies upon.

That is why, I’m going to lay down the pros and the cons to this whole “protecting scheme” and see how beneficial it is for the economies in specific, and the masses in general.

PROS:

  1. Promotes Innovation: An example would seal the deal. If a student creates a work of art in school, she is praised by the teacher who rewards her exclusively if she shares her art-work with the class. Similarly, the inventors benefit through the patents in such a way that further provides an incentive for more innovation and investment in research and development. This happens mainly because patentees, in addition to getting financial bolstering, are also awarded academic recognition and intra-research institute promotions.
  2. Economic Growth and Investments: Capitalizing on inventions through patenting can easily be done as it creates great market potential of its inventions in the market overseas and locally. Also, patents provide an impetus to the national economy by attracting foreign investment and products can be produced for exporting.

In addition, patents help in exchanging “traditional know-how” and innovation through licence agreements between industries. Its benefits are not one-sided as the local inventor gets capital and access to international markets if overseas companies exploit the inventions of local companies and the foreign companies and markets through this exchange can brush up or embellish their skills and developmental research in that field.

  1. Improving Existing Innovations: If patents were not in use today, many of the inventors would probably conceal the essential details of their inventions behind closed doors and leave the world in an agonizing mystery, which would also stop other researchers around the world from building on the patented innovation or/and coming up with new inventions on related subjects which could only be possible by the knowledge sharing promoted by patents. 

CONS:

 

  • Unequitable Rewards: If two researchers independently come up with the same invention, the inventor who first applies for patent protection will be the sole beneficiary, not the other, whose work may have been more ground-breaking or utilitarian. 
  • Un-equal Balance of Payments: If a country’s net imports of intellectual property outweigh it’s outsource and export, then the inflow of capital is not equal to the outflow through the way of payment of license fees and royalties for the usage of the innovations whose patents are owned by international companies. 
  • Withholding Information: Many a time, an inventor withholds information and the details of his invention by withholding the application of patent protection due to the simple reason of not being in a position to apply or being wary about innovation requisites for granting of patents. This might further stall the work of other researchers who could have made significant use of the knowledge sharing if the patents were applied for earlier.

 

CONCLUSION:

Therefore, summing it up through an analytical overview of the topic, it can be safely concluded that the costs and risks involved in the patenting system can be intelligibly overlooked considering the greater good that follows to both the economy as an entity, and to the inventor and user as an individual. 

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