Create – The Ideal Title for the Sixth Edition of the U.S. Chamber International IP Index
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center or GIPC just released the sixth edition of the International IP Index. Aptly titled “Create,” five new countries (Costa Rica, Ireland, Jordan, Morocco and the Netherlands) have been added to those profiled for a total of 50. Each nation is ranked according to 40 indicators, however, the indicators are now divided into eight categories instead of six: Patents; Copyrights; Trademarks; Trade Secrets; Commercialization of IP Assets; Enforcement; Systemic Efficiency; and Membership in and Ratification of International Treaties. Commercialization of IP Assets and Systemic Efficiency were included just this year to provide a more comprehensive overview of the investments countries are making to support domestic innovation and creativity. Countries are assigned numerical values based on their performance with 40 as the highest possible score. As GIPC President and CEO David Hirschmann summed up, the goal of the rankings is to “answer one simple question: Does a given economy’s intellectual property system provide a reliable basis for investment in the innovation and creativity lifecycle?”
India has risen from the bottom 10 percent of the rankings due in large measure to the adoption of guidelines to improve the patent landscape for technological innovations, although more reform is needed. Protection of online copyrighted content has improved in several countries due to legislative changes and better enforcement of existing legislation as well as landmark court cases. Australia, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom provide examples of these positive trends. Overall, the countries profiled in the Index are enhancing and better enforcing policies that protect intellectual property rights in what appears to be a near-universal global race to the top. The GIPC Index is an excellent guidebook for completing the race.
For the sixth consecutive year, the United States tops the list earning a score of 37.98, its lead over the UK which ranks second at 37.97 has narrowed. America’s stumble can largely be attributed to the erosion of patent protection resulting from an uptick in legal uncertainty surrounding due process for patents; Supreme Court decisions restricting patent eligibility and spikes in litigation against patent holders. In contrast, other nations took steps to strengthen their IP regimes specifically on patents. Canada’s Supreme Court overturned their nation’s patent utility doctrine in June 2017 – a development welcomed by ALEC which adopted a model policy in 2016 opposing the doctrine.
No other nation has leveraged IP and protection of IP rights better than the US. The drop in America’s score should serve as a wake-up call that the intellectual property and the creative spirit that undergirds the nation’s innovation economy cannot be taken for granted. Strong IPR protections are a necessary element for strong economic growth and to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) itself a job creation engine. IP-intensive industries account for millions of American jobs that offer higher than average wages. GIPC has compiled an overview of the impact of IP on each state. The US can and must do better.
The Index is a useful tool to chart progress on the protection of IPR globally and to identify areas where more work is needed. ALEC has long recognized the power of IP as an engine for economic growth – as did America’s Founding Fathers who enshrined the importance of IP protections in the U.S. Constitution. Work ALEC has done on the topic can be found here.