Making the Case: The Economic Rationale for Intellectual Property Rights


By Kelly Anderson, Executive Director of Health and Drug Policy

A new report shows how a nation’s intellectual property policies influence its economic output.

In March, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released the tenth edition of the International IP Index (IP Index), ranking the intellectual property (IP) systems in 55 global economies across 50 unique indicators. For the last decade, the Index has benchmarked economies’ unique IP frameworks to shed light on the health of the global ecosystem for innovation in creativity.

Now, the Chamber is releasing its annual companion study, the IP Index Statistical Annex (Annex), examining the relationship between an economy’s IP framework and different socio-economic outputs. The report examines 29 different correlations to illustrate the economic benefits of improving IP protection.

Fill me in: Intellectual property and knowledge-intensive industries make up a greater proportion of global economic output today than at any other time in modern economic history. For both the global economy as well as individual country economies’, IP-intensive industries are responsible for a considerable and growing proportion of international trade, national employment, and aggregated economic activity.

Why it matters: The economic benefits are real. IP protection is a critical instrument for economies seeking to enhance access to innovation, grow domestic innovative output, and enjoy the dynamic growth benefits of an innovative economy. The data shows that countries that make a conscious policy decision to invest in more effective IP protection reap the economic benefits.

Numbers to know: The new annex data shows that economies with effective IP systems have:

  • 10X more innovative clinical trials
  • 2X the access to new music through legitimate platforms
  • 40% higher levels of international trademarks applications
  • 46% more likely to attract venture capital and private equity
  • 40% more attractive to foreign investment

Our take: Effective intellectual property systems encourage innovators and creators to embrace new ideas, take risks, and drive change. On the other hand, the Annex shows that weak IP systems undermine innovation and creativity and access to the latest technologies, medicines, and creative content around the world. Unfortunately, dangerous proposals to waive IP commitments threaten to make this a reality.

What’s next: Governments must choose: they can embrace dangerous proposals to roll back international and domestic baseline commitments, shun innovation and creativity, and deprive their economies of the many benefits strong IP ecosystems provide. Or they can make a conscious policy decision to invest in their IP framework until every individual with an idea has a fair shot at the competition for leadership, success and, ultimately, tomorrow.

 

 

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