Newly Released Index Shows Property Rights Still Key to Innovation

The newly released edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII) provides further evidence of the crucial relationship between property rights protections and a prosperous innovation environment.

The GII is an annual publication of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations tasked with providing an international forum for nations to negotiate and collaborate on intellectual property rights. The 2022 edition of the index ranked 132 countries based on their innovation capacity and output.

Switzerland took the top spot, followed by the United States, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Netherlands. The worst-performing countries were Guinea, Iraq, Burundi, Mauritania, and Yemen.

The 2022 International Property Rights Index (IPRI) published by Property Rights Alliance last month reported a strong correlation of 0.871 with the Global Innovation Index, indicating the important connection between the strength of intellectual property protections and the capacity to innovate. All of the top-performing countries in the GII mentioned above also fell within the top 20 countries in the IPRI rankings.

The GII notes that, despite the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, IP filing activity grew in both 2020 and 2021. Whereas in previous international crises patent filings declined significantly, patent filings during the pandemic increased by 3.6 percent in 2020 and another 0.9 percent in 2021. Further, the index notes, trademark filings in particular saw a “spectacular” growth rate of 15 percent in 2021.

Health-related technologies saw the fastest growth in these areas, according to the GII. This reinforces findings from the 2022 IPRI, which found a “good” correlation of 0.699 with the Global Biotech Innovation Index, showing how property rights protections are particularly important when it comes to innovations that benefit public health outcomes. This is the reason why––as explained in previous Property Rights Alliance publications––the decision to suspend IP rights for COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization earlier this year will have a devastating impact on the potential for future innovation in health-related technologies.

The 2022 GII makes clear that the guarantee of intellectual property rights is a strong indicator of a country’s ability to encourage future innovation. Among other recommendations, the index suggests that countries can further improve their innovation performance by “ensur[ing] any national intellectual property (IP) policy is aligned with or even integrated into” the nation’s innovation policy framework.

The IPRI similarly supports the idea of the strong connection between property rights and innovation, arguing that “the assignment of intellectual property (IP) rights… promot[es] the generation of economic incentives towards research and innovation, as well as stimulating the open exposure of ideas, encouraging indirect effects of creativity.”

The data shown across multiple indices clearly demonstrate that governments must ensure more robust IP rights protections in order to bolster their innovation capacity and produce greater prosperity and health outcomes for their citizens.

You can read the full 2022 Global Innovation Index here and read the full 2022 International Property Rights Index here.


Photo credit: World Intellectual Property Organization