Why care about patents? 1. Patents play a critical role in incentivizing innovation, without which we wouldn’t have much of the technology we rely on everyday What does your iPhone, Google’s PageRank algorithm, and a butter substitute called Smart Balance all have in common? …They all probably wouldn’t be here if not for patents. A patent provides its owner with the ability to make money off of something that they invented, without having to worry about someone else copying their technology.