R&D, Innovation and Patents


One of the rationales for patents is that they stimulate economic and technological development and promote competition by creating a financial motivation for invention in return for the disclosure of the invention to the public. Although the potential of the patent system has been widely recognized in the context of dynamic innovation activities, some critics have claimed that the current patent system stymies R&D and technological advances.

In view of the rapid technological innovation and the social and economic challenges, the function, value and impact of the patent system need to be constantly adjusted and implemented so that the optimal balance between the right holder, new entrants to the market and the public at large is achieved. In order to foster R&D in new technologies, such as information and communication technologies and biotechnology, the patent system needs to be shaped so as to swiftly and strategically respond to the challenges arising from those new technologies. Further, in order to support a comprehensive and complex technological development, it is essential to strengthen public R&D activities, including those in universities, and promote better collaboration between the private and the public sectors. It is important to set up policies which provide a balance by offering both incentives to stimulate R&D and ensure a competitive environment for pioneers, for down-stream researchers and for producers at the end of the value-added chain.

One of the major functions of the patent system is the dissemination of technical information. Patent information is a valuable and comprehensive source of technical, commercial and legal information that can be used directly for scientific and experimental purposes and as a basis for stimulating the adaptation and improvement of the technology described in patent documents immediately after their publication. Recognizing the importance of the dissemination of technical information, a growing number of IP offices and organizations are using the Internet to offer access to their patent documents' databases.


Studies and Articles

Links on these pages, including those to studies commissioned for WIPO, do not imply the agreement of WIPO, its Member States or the International Bureau with the views expressed.

Date Source Title
March 2009 Science Promoting Intellectual Discovery:  Patents versus Markets, Debrah Meloso et. al.
February 2009 OECD Patent Statistics Manual
January 2009 PRO INNO Europe European Innovation Scoreboard 2008, Comparative Analysis of Innovation Performance [PDF]
December 2008 OECD

STI Working Paper 2008/4:  Open Innovation in a Global Perspective – What do Existing Data Tell Us? [PDF]

December 2008 South  Centre Patent Counts as Indicators of the Geography of the Innovation Activity: Problems and Perspectives, Xuan Li
November 2008 OECD Policy Brief: Open Innovation in Global Networks [PDF]
July 16, 2008 European Commission Industrial Property Rights: Commission launches strategy to drive innovation from the laboratory to the marketplace
January 2008 National Science Board Science and Engineering Indicators 2008
2008 European Commission Science, technology and innovation in Europe [PDF]
2008 OECD OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2008 [PDF]
2008 Stockholm Network If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it: A Discussion Paper on the Benefits of the Voluntary Market-Driven Approach to Innovation, Meir P. Pugatch [PDF]
2008 UK/DIUS Annual Innovation Report 2008
2008 OECD Environmental Policy, Technological Innovation and Patents
October 2007 OECD OECD Science,Technology and Industry: Scoreboard 2007
September 2007 ICTSD Is Product Patent Protection Necessary in Developing Countries for Innovation? R&D by Indian Pharmaceutical Companies after TRIPS [PDF]
June 2007 National Knowledge Commission Innovation in India [PDF]

June 2007


The Least Developed Countries Report 2007

February 2007 OECD Impacts of Environmental Policy Instruments on Technological Change [PDF]
2007 European Commission/European Patent Office Why Researchers should care about patents [PDF]

July 2006

Institute for Public Policy Research

The Value of the Public Domain, Rufus Pollock [PDF]

March 2006


STI Working Paper 2006/2
Research Use of Patented Knowledge: A Review [PDF]
Chris Dent, Paul Jensen, Sophie Waller and Beth Webster

April 2006


Innovation in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
Comparing National Innovation Systems at the Sectoral Level

February 2006


Compendium of Patent Statistics 2005

February 2006 UNCTAD-ICTSD Utility Models and  Innovation in Developing Countries, Uma Suthersanen [PDF]

October 2005

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Intellectual Property in the AAAS Scientific Community: A descriptive analysis of the results of a pilot survey on the effects of patenting on science, Stephen Hansen, Amanda Brewster and Jana Asher [PDF]

May 2005


Growth in Services: Fostering Employment, Productivity and Innovation

March 2005


Public-Private Partnerships for Product Development: Financial, scientific and managerial issues as challenges to future success, Elizabeth Ziemba

April 2005

World Bank

Promoting innovation in developing countries: a conceptual framework

2005 OECD Oslo Manual, Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data [PDF]

January 2004


Policy Brief: Science and Innovation Policy: Key Challenges and Opportunities


US National Academy of Sciences

A Patent System for the 21st Century



OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2003

December 2001


Application of Intellectual Property Rights in Developing Countries: Implications for Public Policy and Agricultural Research Institutes, Mywish K. Maredia [PDF]

December 2000


OECD Workshop on The Management of Intellectual Property Rights from Public Research

September 2000


Policy Brief, Science, Technology and Innovation in the New Economy

May 1998


Can Patents Deter Innovation? The Anticommons in Biomedical Research, Michael A. Heller, Rebecca S. Eisenberg

1991 to 2008  UK/DIUS R&D Scoreboard


Related Sites

The inclusion of a link to a site does not imply the agreement of WIPO, its Member States or the International Bureau with any of the views expressed on the site.

World Intellectual Property Organization


Other International Organizations


Non-Governmental Organizations


Patent Information Databases