The nation's current patent system is a drain on entrepreneurship and small-business growth, a new study claims.

Amid the increasing complexity of patent legislation, most patents today fail to meet set standards, according to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, a Washington-based small-business advocacy group.

Raymond Keating, the group's chief economist, said the patent system needed to be restructured to bolster patent quality while reducing costs. Other reforms, he said, should include patent litigation, international harmonization and a shift to a first-inventor-to-file approach, as opposed to first-to-invent.

Many of these reforms are already included in the bipartisan Patent Reform Act, which was approved by the House last year and is expected to be taken up in the Senate in the next few months.

Studies show small patenting firms produce 13-14 times more patents per employee than large firms.