Gang,

Sure patents have flaws, but don't let "perfect" be the enemy of the 
"good". They just need to be used properly and thoughtfully. Personally, 
I'd argue that patents *are* useful measures of innovation when they are 
weighted by forward citations and used in large aggregates (over time 
and space). That is, citations-weighted patents are much more accurate 
for evaluating the innovation rates of entire nations over the course of 
decades during...but admittedly less so for evaluating whether Apple 
innovated more than Sony in July 1999.

-Zak Taylor

-- 
Mark Zachary Taylor
Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies
Sam Nunn School of International Affairs
Georgia Institute of Technology
781 Marietta Street NW
Atlanta, GA  30332-0610
http://www.inta.gatech.edu/people/faculty/mark-zachary-taylor

Author, e-mail: 
mzak@GATECH.EDU
Author, name: 
Zak Taylor