One of the greatest examples of innovation and a case study for how to foster innovation and accelerate development was the IBM PC. As an innovation that changed the nature of the computer industry and society, most will not doubt the innovation and significance of the IBM PC. The history of this is nicely summarized by Tom Hormby.
However, it may not surprise you that the IBM PC at that time did not contain any new inventions. What may surprise you is that the IBM team – under pressure to complete the project in less than 18 months – was under explicit instructions not to invent anything new.
In an earlier piece on IPFrontline, LBE had written:
The patent system is designed to provide incentives to inventors to disclose publicly inventions which are useful, novel, and non-obvious, thereby enhancing the public storehouse of knowledge and hopefully accelerating the rate of improvements to our lives. The deal between the public and the inventor is the exchange of information in return for a right to exclude for a finite time.
One has to focus on the fact that the patent system is about disclosure of inventions. Although such disclosure may impact innovation, invention and innovation are not the same thing. One looks at various comments distinguishing the two.
Edward B. Roberts: The first generalization is: innovation = invention + exploitation. The invention process covers all efforts aimed at creating new ideas and getting them to work. The exploitation process includes all stages of commercial development, application, and transfer.
Peter F. Drucker: Its [innovation's] criterion is not science or technology, but a change in the economic or social environment, a change in the behavior of people as consumers or producers. Innovation creates new wealth or new potential for action rather than mere knowledge.
Gifford Pinchot III: When an invention is done, the second half of innovation begins: turning the idea into a business success.
One will note that Jaffe and Lerner speak of the "innovation wars" and the "rate of innovation," rather than of invention. One has to keep one's eye on the ball. We want a patent system that gives patents to those who have disclosed inventions which are useful, novel, and nonobvious. If the requirements are met, the inventor gets a right to exclude, and enters the free market. The patent system has done its job.
Separately, in 88 JPTOS 1068:
In the book "The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail," Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen does not once use the word patent. "Technology" as defined by Christensen means the processes by which an organization transforms labor, capital, materials, and information into products and services of greater value. Innovation is a change in technology.