The framers of the U.S. Constitution were not wrong. Patents did serve an important purpose during the days when technological advances happened over decades or centuries. In today's era of exponentially advancing technologies, however, patents have become the greatest inhibitor to innovation and are holding the United States back.
Around the world, there is enormous enthusiasm for the type of technological innovation symbolized by Silicon Valley, with many attempting to replicate the ingenuity that they regard as America's true comparative advantage. But there is a puzzle: it is difficult to detect the benefits of this innovation in GDP statistics.