Robust IP Protections Enhance Competitiveness
The most prosperous nations in the world are also the ones that prioritize the protection of intellectual property (IP) the most. Here are the facts. Nations that protect ideas lead the world in research and development, attract 45 percent more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), have three times as many workers in higher paying knowledge-intensive industries, and enjoy up to 10 times the GDP of those with weaker protections. These countries are well positioned to take advantage of the technological innovations transforming industries – especially biologics in the health sector and the “internet of things” (IOT) hailed as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.
These findings were announced this week with the release of the 2016 International IP Index titled “Limitless Possibilities”. Created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), this year’s Index measures 38 economies, accounting for 85 percent of world GDP against 30 indicators in six categories – patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, enforcement and international treaties. It highlights how economic competition has created a race-to-the-top to protect IP and the positive dividends in terms of jobs, innovation and investments gained along the way.
Emphasized at the release is the role of international treaties in standardizing IP protections. The recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement would increase copyright protections to the life of the author plus 70 years in Brunei, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam and ensure a legal framework to punish digital theft. However, there is room for improvement in this historic trade agreement, and at the launch, commitments were made to continue advocating for increased protection of biologics having achieved less than the desired 12 years in TPP. Although imperfect, TPP’s IP protections are a stark contrast to weakening IP regimes in Brazil, Russia, China and Indonesia, which condition market access with localization requirements, restrict certain imports and have a poor record of enforcement.
The Index ranks the U.S. in first place followed closely by the U.K., Germany and France, however, enforcement of IP laws remains a challenge. Some suggestions for the United States include fixing consistency in the enforcement of pirated and counterfeit goods, and expanding patentability of biologics.
ALEC would like to congratulate GIPC on the fourth edition of this invaluable resource. This year’s Index included eight more countries and five new correlations. The larger sample size resulted in stronger correlations between IP rights and research and development spending and increased job creation in knowledge-intensive sectors. The new correlations link IP rights to greater access of venture capital funding and increased employment of researchers. These crucial findings are expounded upon in the Supplementary Statistical Analysis and will prove fundamental in making the case for strengthening IP rights in the age of innovation.