The Brookings report argues that, based on R&D spending, the patenting rate reflects a real increase in the number of valuable inventions and not the actions of companies simply to trying to patent more things.
Because inventions are becoming more complex, so is the cost of producing them. From 1953 to 1974, one patent was generated for every $1.8 million of R&D, but since 1975, it has been $3.5 million inflation adjusted dollars, according to the report.
There are also more people working on patent-related production. In 1910, less than one out of every 1,000 workers was an engineer or scientist, but in 2010, it was 25 out of every 1,000.
Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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