IP: Ranking the World's Economies
We live in a world of innovation, but how that innovation is harnessed and protected varies greatly around the world. The patents that lead to breakthrough medical treatments are protected differently in the United States than they are in India. Laws nurturing the development of creative content are implemented and enforced differently in the United Kingdom than they are in China. And trademarks that signal a trusted brand are protected differently in Vietnam than in Indonesia.
That's why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center developed the International IP Index, now in its fourth edition. This year's report, "Infinite Possibilities," ranks the IP environments in 38 economies around the world based on 30 criteria critical to innovation, such as patent, copyright, and trademark protections; enforcement; and engagement in international treaties. The United States ranks first, while Venezuela receives the lowest overall score.
IP protections truly do create infinite possibilities to unleash greater economic growth, stimulate job creation, and spark greater innovative activity. As detailed in the new report, countries that rank high on the International IP Index tend to fare better economically.
For example, high-ranking countries are more likely to attract venture capital, private equity funding, and foreign investment. Particularly in countries facing an economic downturn, like Brazil, the need to attract foreign investment is at a premium. Taking incremental steps to strengthen the IP environment helps to bolster the legal and regulatory framework, in turn giving investors assurances their innovations will be protected.
As new investment flows into a country, the economy itself is strengthened. Countries with a robust IP system have nearly triple the workforce concentrated in knowledge-intensive sectors and, on average, 2.5 times the research-and-development-focused personnel.
The creation and sustenance of these jobs helps continue a country's growth on the trajectory to becoming a truly knowledge-based economy. IP, after all, is the framework that takes a concept scribbled on the back of a napkin to an actual product in the market, which has a myriad of benefits for domestic consumers. Consumers in high-ranking countries have 30 percent greater access to the most recent technological developments.
These are a few of the benefits identified in the latest report, but the possibilities of a strong IP regime to economies around the world are infinite. It's important for policymakers in Washington and around the world to understand the significance of a strong IP environment, not only to an economy but to a society at large. The International IP Index is a tool to help make that case.
Mark Elliot is executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center.