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.


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