Or, does it refer to 'the original rationale for granting patents'?
Patents and copyright laws grant too much credit and reward to individuals and imply that technology evolves by jerks. Recall that the original rationale for granting patents was not to reward inventors with monopoly profits but to encourage them to share their inventions. A certain amount of intellectual property law is plainly necessary to achieve this. But it has gone too far. Mostpatents are now as much about defending monopoly and deterring rivals asabout sharing ideas. And that discourages innovation.