PRA Launches 2021 International Trademark and Patent Index

Property Rights Alliance hosted a webinar event on Monday, April 26 celebrating the World IP Day. Professor Walter Park of American University and Chrysa Kazakou of PRA presented the newly published 2021 International Trademark and Patent Index. According to Professor Park, from the American University, “the goal of the index is not only to keep track of the legal and regulatory changes, but also for researchers to analyze the determinants and the impact of trademark and patent protection.”

During 2020 and 2021, PRA worked to compile the data for trademark legislations from 139 countries and for patent legislations from 122 countries around the world. The Indices offer a tool for measuring the protection of trademarks and patents around the world.

As an overview, the International Trademark Index (ITI) 2021 consists of four clusters: (1) coverage; (2) membership in treaties, and (3) procedures — which aggregate duration, restrictions, and enforcement mechanisms and (4) Trademark applications. Each of the clusters contains a combination of variables that will then be averaged to come up with a cluster score. The International Patent Index (IPI) 2021 follows the same methodology – the unweighted sum of six separate scores for: coverage (inventions that are patentable), membership in international trea- ties, duration of protection (0 to 20 years), enforcement mechanisms, restrictions (for example, compulsory licensing if a patented invention is not sufficiently exploited) and patent applications.

During the ongoing the pandemic crisis, there has been a continuing debate about patents for medicines. The right balance provides early access to affordable medicines with sufficient flexibility to protect intellectual property (IP). Patents are a part of the solution for the COVID-19 vaccine. Andrei Iancu, former undersecretary of Commerce for IP and Director of the USPTO (2018-2021) stated that “If an IP waiver is applied and all these very complex technologies are free for all, it will be difficult to control potential fake vaccines.”

Key Findings

The United States leads the ITI 2021 with a score of 0.8794 and the IPI 2021 with a score of 5.88. The United States has effectively secured the protection of trademarks and patents providing the necessary tools to prevent IP infringement. Canada ranks 2nd in the IPI (4.88), while China ranks 2nd in the ITI (0.8625). The second position illustrates that IP assets of right-holders are fully protected even when sharing valuable platform technology with other companies. At the other end, Mauritania (0.32) and Togo (0.2625) are found in the bottom rankings in the ITI. Somalia (1.38) and Myanmar (1.32) have the lowest scores in the IPI.

Intellectual property contributes enormously to state economies and incentivize entrepreneurs to keep pushing for new advances in innovation. The co-author of the indices, Chrysa Kazakou, emphasized that “Intellectual Property Rights encourage creative activity for the benefit of a free society.”

You can download the International Trademark and Patent Index 2021 here.