A world where business is the dominant driver
This scenario is the story of the consolidation of a system so successful that it is collapsing under its own weight. New forms of subject matter - inevitably including further types of services - become patentable and more players enter the system.
The balance of power is held by multinational corporations with the resources to build powerful patent portfolios, enforce their rights in an increasingly litigious world and drive the patent agenda. A key goal is the growth of shareholder value. Patents are widely used as a financial tool to achieve that end.
In the face of ever-increasing volumes of patent applications, various forms of rationalisation of the system occur and it moves to mutual recognition of harmonised patent rights.
The market decides the fate of the system, with minor regulation of visible excesses. Patent trolling, anti-competitive behaviour and standards issues all come under scrutiny.