Arguing your point of view: the economic justification of intellectual property rights

In March, the American Chamber of Commercereleased the tenth editionthe International Intellectual Property Index (IP Index),rankingintellectual property (IP) systems in 55 global economies across 50 unique indicators. Over the past decade, the index has compared economies’ unique intellectual property frameworks to shed light on the health of the global ecosystem for innovation in creativity.

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Today, the Chamber releases its annual companion study, theStatistical appendix of the IP index(Appendix), examining the relationship between an economy’s intellectual property framework and different socio-economic outcomes. The report examines 29 different correlations to illustrate the economic benefits of improved intellectual property protection.

Complete me: Intellectual property and knowledge-intensive industries account for a greater proportion of global economic output today than at any time in modern economic history. Both for the global economy and for individual national economies, IP-intensive industries are responsible for a significant and growing share of international trade, national employment and overall economic activity.

Why is this important: The economic benefits are real. Intellectual property protection is a key instrument for economies seeking to improve access to innovation, increase domestic innovative output and reap the benefits of the dynamic growth of an innovative economy. The data shows that countries that make a conscious political decision to invest in more effective intellectual property protection reap the economic benefits.

Numbers to know: The new data in the appendix show that economies with effective intellectual property systems have:

  • 10X more innovative clinical trials

  • 2X the access to new music through legitimate platforms

  • 40% higher levels of international trademark applications

  • 46% more likely to attract venture capital and private equity

  • 40% more attractive for foreign investment

Our opinion : 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 intellectual property systems undermine innovation and creativity and access to the latest technologies, medicines and creative content worldwide. Unfortunately, dangerous proposals to forgo intellectual property commitments threaten to make this a reality.

And after: Governments must choose: they can adopt dangerous proposals to renege on basic international and national commitments, avoid innovation and creativity, and deprive their economies of the many benefits that strong intellectual property ecosystems provide. Or they can make a conscious political decision to invest in their IP framework until every individual with an idea has a fair chance to compete for leadership, success, and ultimately tomorrow.

About the authors

Kelly Anderson

Executive Director, Health and Drug Policy, Global Innovation Policy Center

Kelly Anderson is the House’s senior director of health and drug policy at the Global Innovation Policy Center.

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