The subject of the paper concentrates on the role that contemporary patent systems have to play in economies. The most important resource for economies has become knowledge, including, first and foremost, the technical knowledge, which is a foundation of inventions. The publication is an attempt to organize the current state of knowledge in the analysed area and to indicate the issues that, from the economic point of view, arouse the most controversy. Their previous undertaking in the source literature is characterized by selectivity and concentration primarily on legal aspects. However, there is no comprehensive discussion of the above problem in terms of economic sciences. The main objective is to highlight the new role of patent systems, thanks to which, after modernization of the existing structure, verification of the rules in force and improvement of the information system, their functioning would be adapted to market requirements to a greater extent than hitherto. The publication consists of a theoretical part based on literature and empirical research, in which the patent citations analysis method was used. The results of the conducted research indicate that the effective implementation of the information function is for patent systems both a challenge and an opportunity. They can be sanctioned in a new role, consistent with the guidelines of knowledge-based management. Creating and sharing substantively verified resources of specialist knowledge, used for research purposes and in engineering practice, creates the possibility of real impact on inventive activity, conditioning technical progress.