Those who claim that patents harm innovation and stifle innovation see a patent at an insurmountable hurdle, or perhaps a brick wall. There is no way around the obstacle. The only option is to infringe or simply not offer the product or service, but to them that is not an option because if they can’t sell the product that they want to sell then that has to mean that innovation is being harmed. But innovation is about busting through the brick wall, or going around the brick wall. Because of the existence of that brick wall a paradigm shift is necessary, and that is what leads to true innovation.
Of course, critics don’t understand true innovation because they conflate a particular product or service, which is new to them, to be something that is innovative. I have always found it amazing how true inventors so frequently don’t think what they have come up with is unique enough to pursue a patent, but those who offer little or nothing unique conclude that their product represents innovation. The hubris is high on the part of those who really don’t understand innovation, and the true purpose of a patent system. Those who don’t understand think it is an afront to humanity if they are not able to sell what they want, when they want, without having to pay a licensing fee to the innovator.
Recently this issue came up again when a comment was posted to an article about whether patents harm or promote innovation. The comment proclaimed loudly, confidently, and yet incorrectly that patents harm innovation. The commenter even provided an example about how he has received a cease and desist letter, which means the product that he is selling is in jeopardy of having to be pulled from the market and damages paid. This scenario was intended to be proof that patents harm innovation. In fact, it is proof that the patent system is working exactly as intended, and that patents do not stifle innovation. Patents foster innovation!