PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Global IP Index 2020: Solid Progress Across the Globe, Challenges Remain

By at 25 February, 2020, 11:21 am

By Karen Kerrigan

The U.S. Chamber’s Global IP Center (GIPC) recently released its eighth annual ranking of countries in terms of their approach to intellectual property (IP) protections. I had the distinct honor of attending the unveiling event where GIPC staff and board members reviewed the latest International IP Index rankings, particularly the good news findings from across the globe.

The 53 countries measured in the Index represent over 90% of the world’s GDP. As noted in the press release announcing this year’s rankings:

“The International IP Index creates a template for economies that aspire to become 21st century, knowledge-based economies through more effective IP protection. This year, U.S. and European economies remained atop the global IP rankings, while many emerging markets also showed big improvements thanks to commitments to adopt pro-IP measures.”

Some highlights from the Index:

SBE Council’s Karen Kerrigan and member Darrin Auito, partner HEA Law, who specializes in IP and providing counsel to startups and small corporations, attended the launch of GIPC’s 2020 International IP Index.

● The top five rated countries on the Index are the United States (#1), United Kingdom, France, Germany and Sweden. The bottom five (worst) include: Venezuela (last), Algeria, Pakistan, Nigeria and Kuwait.

● India has made notable gains in protecting IP, and that has made a difference in its improved ranking. According to the report, positive momentum continued into this year. Still, India ranks #39 (out of 53 countries measured) on the list.

● Awareness continues to grow among countries about the importance of protecting IP and the direct link to innovation, economic growth and attracting investment. Concrete steps have been taken by many emerging nations to strengthen IP protections and build a culture of protection: “Many economies benchmarked in the Index have committed to implementing a strong foundation for IP policy through measures to enhance systemic efficiency.”

● On the enforcement front, challenges persist across global markets. Only 21% of the economies included in the rankings achieved a score of 50% or more. Still, several markets took steps to strengthen IP enforcement in 2019.

● “Peru achieved the greatest overall score improvement of the Latin American economies benchmarked in the report. Additionally, Vietnam’s score increased the most out of the Asian economies as a result of legislation to increase damages awarded for IP infringement and participation in a number of international IP treaties.”

● “Developed and developing economies alike are undermining biopharmaceutical innovation, which reduces access to life-saving medicines and technologies and is the wrong approach to address health care costs.” Unfortunately, the U.S. is among these countries, and future potential actions – such as the artificial price controls in H.R. 3, the proposed International Pricing Index advanced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the use of compulsory licenses as a cost-containment tool – all serve to undermine U.S. IP and our global leadership in drug innovation. USMCA also failed to fully protect American IP in this regard.

The Executive Summary of the International IP Index covers a significant amount of information and data – both the good news, as well as challenges that remain in securing and protecting IP at home and abroad.

Of course, SBE Council remains a steadfast voice for protecting and strengthening IP through legislative efforts, administrative actions and trade agreements. As clearly documented in GIPC International IP Index 2020, things are moving in a very positive direction for strengthening IP across the world, but vigilance and advocacy are critical to stopping possible backsliding and erosion of IP rights while continuing to move protections forward.

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

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