The US is currently looking at changing its patent law system to “create” more jobs by tightening it up. Patent and Copyrights, while critical as they provide a limited monopoly period for companies to protect their inventions and thus attract investors dont necessarily lead to the level of advancement that they could, especially if one looks at the “patent wars” that currently surround android and the iphone.
while patents are important, they are a single barrier to entry and not always a very effective one. defending innovation has a lot to do with successful commercialization and business level barriers too.
you can read more on the topic
– would reducing copyright periods change anything