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Report: IP key to economic recovery, defeating pandemic

March 25, 2021

By Colin Mann

The ninth annual International IP Index, Recovery Through Ingenuity, from the US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), which champions innovation and creativity through intellectual property standards, has highlighted the extraordinary role of intellectual property (IP) rights in delivering pandemic-ending solutions.

The report evaluates IP rights in 53 global economies — from patent and copyright policies to commercialisation of IP assets and ratification of international treaties.

In what the GIPC describes as a year of unprecedented challenges, the US, Japanese, and European economies remained atop the global IP rankings, while some emerging markets – including the UAE, China, and Mexico – continued making solid progress.

The overall global IP environment also improved in 2020, with positive score increases in 32 of the 53 economies measured by the IP Index. This follows a significant increase for many economies over the last nine years, including India and Brazil.

China’s improved score is in part as a result of new legislation to strengthen its domestic IP framework, as a result of a trade agreement with the United States. These changes, if implemented effectively, should improve China’s domestic IP regime. However, ongoing market access barriers, uneven enforcement, measures requiring forced technology transfer, and serious deficiencies in the rule of law continue to make the business environment in China highly challenging for rightsholders.

“Trade remains critically important to global IP standards,” declared Neil Bradley, Chief Policy Officer for the US Chamber of Commerce. “Both the US-China 2020 Trade and Economic Agreement and US-Mexico-Canada Agreement must be fully and faithfully implemented – and built upon – to harness the benefits which effective IP systems provide. Moreover, to achieve the desired effect of stimulating global innovation, countries must implement the spirit as well as the letter of these commitments.”

The 2021 Index illustrates that economies with the most effective IP frameworks are more likely to achieve the socio-economic benefits needed to combat Covid-19, including greater access to venture capital, increased private sector investment in research and development, and over 10 times more clinical trial activity. Over the last year, transparent and predictable intellectual property rights have also fostered unprecedented levels of highly successful public-private sector collaborations.

“The international IP system gave the innovative scientific community the capacity to respond to the global pandemic,” noted David Hirschmann, President and CEO of GIPC. “Countries with the most effective IP ecosystems – as measured by the 2021 Index – become trusted partners in our mission to develop, manufacture, and distribute the solutions needed to defeat Covid-19 in record time. Now is the time to build greater international consensus and capacity on IP, to enable all countries and the next generation to build a sustained economic recovery through ingenuity,” Hirschmann concluded.

IP continues to be a massive economic driver for jobs and investment. In the United States alone, IP supports over $6 trillion in GDP and more than 45 million jobs, according to the US Department of Commerce.

The Index notes that there were a number of positive copyright reforms in Index economies over the last year.

As a result of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), both Mexico and Canada introduced copyright reforms. While the Canadian government extended the term of protection for some copyrighted works, the Mexican government introduced more substantive reforms to the Federal Law on Copyright.

New amendments to the Chinese Copyright Law strengthened the legal framework for sound and broadcasting, improved provisions on technological protection measures (TPMs) and digital rights management (DRM) and increased statutory damages for copyright infringement.


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