Reforming the Patent System


Publish Date:
June 17, 2020
Publication Title:
The Hamilton Project Policy Proposal
Related Organization(s):


The Problem
A faster pace of technological innovation is likely necessary for achieving robust productivity growth. Considering the slowdown in productivity growth since the early 2000s, it is important for policymakers to improve the incentive structures for technological innovation via reforms to the U.S. patent system.

The Proposal
Lisa Larrimore Ouellette and Heidi Williams of Stanford University propose three policy reforms that would improve the efficiency and transparency of the U.S. patent system:

  • Require U.S. patent applications to distinguish hypothetical experimental results (i.e., prophetic examples) from conducted analyses.
  • Mandate more transparent and standardized disclosure of patent ownership.
  • Increase uniformity in effective patent terms across inventions.