So lets see if your claims of progress are born out by the facts in the paper:
"Simply eyeballing the big trends shows that patenting has exploded over the
last decades. In 1983 in the United States, 59,715 patents were issued; by 2003,
189,597 patents were issued; and in 2010, 244,341 new patents were approved. In
less than 30 years, the flow of patents more than quadrupled. By contrast, neither
innovation nor research and development expenditure nor factor productivity
have exhibited any particular upward trend. According to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, annual growth in total factor productivity in the decade 1970 –1979 was
about 1.2 percent, while in the decades 1990 –1999 and 2000 –2009 it has been a bit
below 1 percent. Meanwhile, US research and development expenditure has been
oscillating for more than three decades in a narrow band around 2.5 percent of
GDP. The recent explosion of patents, in other words, has not brought about any
additional surge in useful innovations and aggregate productivity. In new industries
such as biotechnology and software —where innovation was already thriving in their
absence —patents have been introduced without any positive impact on the rate
of innovation. The software industry is an important case in point. In a dramatic
example of judge-made law, software patents became possible for the first time in
the early 1990s. Bessen and Meurer, in a large body of empirical work culminating
in Patent Failure (2008), have studied the consequences of this experiment and have
concluded that it damaged social welfare."
That is from page 4 in the report. So for *30 years*, R&D as a percentage of GDP has stagnated despite a quadrupling of patents issued. is that progress? The authors state that there is *NO* empirical evidence to suggest that patent actually increase innovation or productivity. None. I agree with the author and you're free to disagree. But the facts even from the introduction seem pretty plain to me.
If you didn't make your invention by now, someone else would have done it just for the first mover advantage.