At the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), we believe that intellectual property (IP) is the key to promoting innovation and bringing new products to market. Progress on issues such as poverty, hunger, disease, and climate change requires the creative and innovative capacity of every global citizen. Now in its third edition, for 2015, the GIPC International IP Index (GIPC Index) provides a rigorous, data-based analysis that can help all economies put that critical human element to work.
The GIPC Index highlights economies that have embraced strong IP protections as well as economies that would be well served to seek improvements to their IP regime. For the first time, the GIPC Index includes correlations on the ways that strong IP protections serve as a gateway to building innovative economies. Specifically, the GIPC Index identified a positive relationship between the following:
- Strong IP rights and research and development (R&D) expenditure: Companies in economies with advanced IP systems are 40% more likely to invest in R&D.
- Strong IP rights and high-value job growth: Economies with favorable IP regimes employ more than half their workforce in knowledge-intensive sectors.
- Strong IP rights and foreign direct investment (FDI): Strong IP protections in the life sciences sector account for 40% of life sciences investment. Additionally, economies with beneficial IP protection see 9–10 times more life sciences investment than economies with weak IP protections.
- Strong IP rights and innovative activity: Economies with robust IP environments yield 50% more innovative output compared with economies with IP regimes in need of improvement.
Recognizing the vast benefits of strong IP protections, a number of economies took steps to improve their IP system over the past year. Key highlights include the following:
- Canada acceded to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Internet Treaties. Further, the released text of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union (EU), if ratified and implemented, would significantly improve Canada’s IP environment.
- In India, the Modi administration’s national intellectual property rights (IPR) think tank recently released the Draft National IPR Policy, which recognized the fundamental links between IP, innovation, and the successful development of innovative products. Additionally, the formation of a high-level IP working group as part of the Trade Policy Forum has the potential to elicit measurable and sustainable changes to India’s IP system.
- Indonesia passed copyright legislation that included a notification system giving the government the power to block infringing websites.
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating economies continued to take steps to improve their IP regimes.
Most economies included in the GIPC Index have ample room to further strengthen their IP laws in order to harness the economic benefits that IP provides. Key areas of improvement include the following:
- Canadian courts continue to apply a heightened standard for patent utility that imposes an arbitrary patentability test on inventions. The unique patent utility test raises uncertainty about how much information needs to be disclosed in patent applications, and represents a significant erosion of patent rights.
- Several economies in the GIPC Index, including France, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, and the United Kingdom, are considering introducing plain packaging legislation.
- TPP negotiating economies Chile and Peru have yet to implement key provisions of the free trade agreements (FTAs) with the United States. Should the Chilean and Peruvian governments bring their IP systems in line with their FTA obligations, their GIPC Index scores would improve significantly.
- Although the IP environment in India has improved slightly, several opportunities exist for the Modi administration to make further enhancements, particularly by amending patentability requirements, renouncing the use of compulsory licenses as a commercial tool, and strengthening the copyright framework to address online and physical piracy.
- While Switzerland scores quite high overall on the GIPC Index, significant gaps in Switzerland’s copyright legislation create a challenging environment to combat copyright infringement.
- Although the United States has introduced several successful initiatives to shut down rogue websites—such as the “In Our Sites” operation—for a top-tier economy, it scores poorly in the enforcement indicators due to ineffective border measures to seize counterfeit goods.
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