The federal government deploys a variety of institutions — patent, tax, and spending, among others — to encourage innovation. But legal scholars have given short shrift to how these institutions should be coordinated. In this Note, I argue that tax credits could be used to ameliorate a number of inefficiencies that arise from the failures of patent law. Deploying strong tax credits narrowly could improve incentives for small businesses and in emerging industries at a relatively low cost. I argue that this style of comparative institutional analysis should be part of every innovation scholar’s toolbox.