After reading the passage, choose the best answer to each question. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.
The number of patents granted to inventors by the United States Patent Office dropped from 56,000 in 1971 to 45,000 in 1978. Spending on research and development, which peaked at 3 percent of the gross national product (GNP) in 1964, was only 2.2 percent of the GNP in 1978. During this period, when the United States percentage was steadily decreasing, West Germany and Japan increased the percentage of their GNP’s spent on research and development to 3.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.
Which of the following conclusions is best supported by the information above?