2018 Nobel economy prize highlights value of patents

Is inventiveness simply the result of clever thinkers who get notions and run with them, or is it something more? While the former is clearly valuable in furthering innovation, many observers offer that the latest Nobel Prize for Economics reflects a view that we believe to be equally important. That the most valuable innovations follow from solid research and development supported by the protections provided by strong intellectual property rights law.

The joint winners of the prize were Yale professor William Nordhaus and New York University’s Paul Romer of the Stern School of Business. They won recognition for their separate work in macroeconomic analysis, looking at factors contributing to nations’ economic growth.

Nordhaus is hailed for a model he created to assess the interplay between economies and climate change. The Nobel Committee credits Romer for his model showing how patent protections drive sustained economic growth by encouraging business and government investment in new technologies.

While the two men worked separately, at the news conference announcing the prize, Romer acknowledged a connection. He said, “It is entirely possible for humans to produce less carbon,” an overabundance of which scientists say is significantly responsible for the greenhouse gases that feed climate change. Indeed, Romer said, “Once we start to try to reduce emissions, we’ll be surprised that it wasn’t as hard as we anticipated.”

At the same time, Nordhaus pointed out that government investment in this area lags, “miles, miles, miles behind the science and what needs to be done.”

What that all suggests is that ideas into marketable solutions is going to be dependent on private investment. And in that environment, our firm stands ready to serve in helping businesses protect their intellectual property rights while building fruitful partnerships to contribute to success and growth.

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