Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The International IP Index 2017

The US Chamber of Commerce (USCC) Global Intellectual Property Center released earlier this month its International IP Index for 2017. The function of the Index is clear. As it states:
Not only does it assess the state of the international IP environment [an exercise in which it is by no means alone: readers may wish to compare this Index with the 5th Taylor Wessing Global Intellectual Property Index, here], it also provides a clear roadmap for any economy that wishes to be competitive in the 21st century knowledge-based global economy. Large, small, developing, or developed-economies from across the world can use the insights about their own national IP environments as well as that of their neighbors and international competitors [45 countries are reviewed here, adding up to around 90% of world GDP, as against 43 jurisdictions in the Taylor Wessing Index] to improve their own performance and better compete at the highest levels for global investment, talent, and growth.
Does this exercise have any validity?  On one level it is certainly interesting and may assist an investor, for example, which has funds that might be invested in one of two innovative IP-based projects, where one is hosted in fertile soil for patent protection and exploitation while the other is not.  It may also be useful as a goad with which to prod governments in countries where IP protection is low and its administrative infrastructure is poor. However, it is hard to imagine jurisdictions such as Venezuela or Pakistan, which have many problems of a more pressing nature to address, caving in to demands for IP made by lobbyists waving copies of the USCC Index at them. 

The Taylor Wessing Index, in contrast, would appear to be aimed mainly at prospective litigants or licensees who want to know what they might experience on the battleground of a national marketplace, as well as at their respective legal representatives.

Naturally, an index is determined the criteria by which it is compiled will allow it to be, which is why there is a good deal of discrepancy between those of the USCC and Taylor Wessing.  The USCC table is headed by the United States, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany. Taylor Wessing has the Netherlands out ahead, trailed by Germany and the United Kingdom but with the United States plummeting to the lower reaches of its table.

From the point of view of IP analytics, indexes of this nature are always enjoyable to read and may provide both background context and relevant perspectives that enable market- or product-specific data to be better appreciated.  They cannot however serve as not a substitute for drilling down into the data bedrock and establishing who owns what, where, for how long and against whom.

You can read the Executive Summary of the USCC Index here and the full Index (148 pages) here.

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