All Things Innovative– IPR Necessary for Innovative Ecosystem

Does where you live affect your ability to innovate? No, we’re not talking about your proximity to mountains or lakes, or the altitude of your workshop. We’re talking about the environment that may or may not foster innovative minds to pursue creating. This is precisely what National Public Radio (NPR) reported last week, saying that “innovation thrives in ecosystems, much as microbes flourish in a warm cozy Petri dish.” And without strong intellectual property (IP) laws and enforcement, your homegrown innovation is likely to falter rather flourish.

But innovation seems so vague, how can we define it? According to the study, the prevalence of patent filings is an indicator of both innovation and the presence of the “right” environment. Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley in California, the birthplace of the information-age, leads all other locales in patent filings.

But what gives? Are the people in California that smart, that entrepreneurial? It turns out successful centers, like Silicon Valley, act more like magnets, attracting great minds to conduct business there. The innovative environment in the United States and Silicon Valley foster not only American inventors, but foreign entrepreneurs who are drawn by the cluster of great minds, and benefit from the IP infrastructure. The University of California Berkley found that nearly half of all patents filed in Silicon Valley are awarded to immigrant inventors.

While two-thirds of global economic output and 9 out of 10 patents are awarded to the world’s 40 largest urban areas, this trend doesn’t have to stay this way. Emerging economies can make their marks as innovation leaders if they establish systems that respect IP rights. Studies show that incremental improvements in patent, copyright, and trademark rights spur similar increases in domestic research and development.

Just like microorganisms in a Petri dish, creativity and innovation cannot thrive in a sterile or toxic environment. The right blend of creative culture, knowledge generators, and laws to protect nascent innovation are critical components for developing innovative centers internationally.

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