Is public disclosure of technical information a secondary function of the patent system?
from 96 JPTOS 486 :
While the exclusivity afforded by patent protection is critical to the rights holder, an important secondary function of patents in fostering innovation is public disclosure of technical information. n1 The traditional view of this function is that published patent applications and granted patents facilitate diffusion of knowledge and allow others to build on the inventions described therein. However, some commentators have recognized an additional, alternate purpose of public disclosure of patent information utilized by patent holders. n2 In particular, patent documents may be used to publicize information about the patent owner. These non-textual messages conveyed via patents are called signals. n3
While the patentee gets the right to exclude if a patent application is issued as a patent, society can get public disclosure whether or not issuance occurs.
**Separately, see 2014 NW. J. INT'L L. & BUS. 1A: Patenting Human Genes Violates Laws of Nature, Impedes Patient Care, Stifles Research, and Inhibits Long-Term Business Opportunities