Breaking America’s Patent Stalemate

(This op-ed was first published in Project Syndicate on November 18, 2020.)

Patents are intended to disclose information about new technologies and who owns the rights to them, but they often fail on both counts. The good news is that the United States Patent and Trademark Office can address both shortcomings without waiting for congressional action.

Economic growth is increasingly reliant on technology-based industries. That has made reforming the US patent system a subject of renewed focus – and of a contentious and deadlocked debate.

Many patent owners are lobbying to remove limits on eligible inventions, but opposition from other stakeholders, including several software firms, has stalled proposed legislation.

(Continue reading the op-ed on the Project Syndicate’s page here.)

Lisa Larrimore Ouellette is Professor of Law and Justin M. Roach, Jr. Faculty Scholar at Stanford University. Heidi Williams, Professor of Economics at Stanford University, is a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research.