I meant objective in the sense that the metric itself is objective, not that it is necessarily a good indicator of innovation. Yes, you’re right. I do like Cowen and Southewood’s method of only looking at patents registered all of the U.S., Japan, and E.U.
The subjects making the judgment seem here to be burocrats in the patent office. I don’t see how that’s substantially more objective then historians making judgments.
Fair point, but you’d have to think that the tendencies of the patent officers changed over time in order to foreclose that as a good metric.
I do think that standards of what is a trivial invention change over time. There are court cases that invalidate certain patents and then patent officers change their patent giving to not give out the kind of patents that are likely to be declared invalid. Laws also change.