Consider: every theorem (including algorithms) in existence today was already contained implicitly in the fundamental axioms and definitions by which it was proved. So who gets the credit?The universe is not based upon the "fundamental" axioms and definitions that we use to model its behavior. It is arguable that by observation we will never be able to determine what the true fundamentals of the universe are, because there for every n observed behaviors, the (n+1)'th behavior might break the model that we established for the first n events.
People spend their time observing physical events to derive the set of universal models known to us, of which a certain subset are useful models for a given application. It is this time spent in research and thought that we seek to reward, because having a more diverse and accurate range of models available for use is valuable to industries that use them.
As long as we don't have a hotline to the Creator of the Universe (if the Universe was a planned thing, that is), there will be a demand for people to create those models. If we allow people that are predisposed toward that line of work to protect their creations for a limited time so that they may live securely, they will be more inclined to pursue the higher education and immense amounts of experimental time necessary to devise the models that industry wants. Otherwise, who would bother? I'm going to spend 10 years after a PhD on the hopes that some company will hire me, because I can't protect the work I produce on my own? That's not a good formula for incentive, at least as far as human motivation goes.