While reading my email this morning, a report from the Small Business Administration (SBA) was released that showed 40% of all new patents were created by small businesses in the US.  The SBS argues on the positive side that small business really contributes to the growth of the US economy.

As a business owner, I agree with that, but I have the following questions looming in my head.

  1. I wonder how many of those patents are actually put into productive, revenue producing products or services?
  2. Are these patents mearly a play to put up competitive barriers in new markets that may or may not be developed?
  3. How many good new products are not being developed because someone or some group is simply building a group of patents spawned from ideas created by some other companies efforts?

I personally believe that patents should only be offered to those who are interested in pursuing them with tangible new features, functions, products or services.  There are too many companies in the market making revenue from patent infringement pursuits, rather than developing smart products or services taht people will buy, want or need.

I worry about what the US will be producing, and exporting in the next 20-30 years that others will buy.  We have lost a lot of our manufacturing economy and replaced it with “Knowledge Workers” .  My concern is that for the US to succeed we need to be able to export to the other countries in the world who may grow faster than the US in the couple of centuries.  IP will not provide that stream of revenue and jobs, but will force us to take our eyes off the ball.

Does anyone know how many patents are put into production or productized versus those that are only pursued for infringement or royalties versus those that never make it to market?

Here is a link to the summary of the report from the SBA.