The United States has the best intellectual property environment in the world, according to a new report from the Global Intellectual Property Center.
The Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) details the intellectual property environment of 25 countries across the globe. Using 30 different factors, the GIPC ranks countries in terms of intellectual property (IP) protection. Those markets that foster growth and lead to development receive the highest scores. The latest report puts the United States at the top of the list, followed by the United Kingdom, France, Singapore and Australia.
Over the last year, several countries have made efforts to improve their IP laws.
- China received the highest score of all middle-income countries for its role in strengthening patent protections. However, the country still needs to improve its trademark and trade secret laws.
- Russia and Malaysia both demonstrated progress in protecting copyrights.
- The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, a trade agreement that includes 12 negotiating parties, offers a great opportunity for countries to improve their intellectual property protections.
However, other nations have taken measures that will stifle innovation and remove IP protections.
- India ranks at the bottom of the GIPC list. The nation uses compulsory licenses and patent revocations more than any other country. Those, combined with its poor enforcement mechanisms, have resulted in an environment that does not protect innovation.
- Canada is one of the weakest developed nations for IP law. However, the country did announce an agreement with the European Commission dealing with free trade, which could also lead to IP improvements.
- Australia has imposed “plain packaging” requirements, which restrict the use of trademarks on tobacco products, meaning that trademark owners cannot exploit their brands. Last year, five countries filed an action in the World Trade Organization against the new laws.
The United States is currently in the midst of negotiations with the European Union on a trade and investment partnership agreement that could further open the door to increased IP protections.