IP and Global Competiveness Go Hand in Hand

By Ideas Matter

As government, business and other leaders met again this month at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos to consider the world’s changing economy, WEF’s detailed Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 provided detailed background information on national economies and demonstrated once again the importance of intellectual property (IP) and the links between a country’s protection of IP and its overall economic competitiveness.

WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index 2015-16 ranked 140 countries world-wide on the basis of a range of ‘key factors and their interrelations that determine economic growth and a country’s level of present and future prosperity.’ IP protection is identified in the WEF surveys as one of the key national ‘institutions’ within which individuals, companies and governments interact to generate income and wealth in the economy.

As the ICC has noted, “the countries that are perceived as having the strongest intellectual property protection are routinely found to be among the most economically competitive countries in the WEF surveys. Those perceived as having the weakest IPR systems tend to rank among the bottom for growth and competitiveness.”

WEF’s 2015-16 global competitiveness survey, initially released at the end of September last year, again showed a high degree of correlation (r=0.80) between a country’s IP protection and its overall competitiveness among the 140 countries surveyed. The results can be seen in this Ideas Matter infographic below.

WEF has explained this link between IP and competitiveness in earlier reports: “The quality of institutions [which include intellectual property] has a strong bearing on competitiveness and growth. It influences investment decisions and the organization of production and plays a central role in the ways in which societies distribute the benefits and bear the costs of development strategies and policies. For example, owners of land, corporate shares, or intellectual property are unwilling to invest in the improvement and upkeep of their property if their rights as owners are insecure.”

As Don Rosenberg, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Qualcomm, explained in his own article for Davos attendees this month, “technological advances and their economic benefits are rooted in the rule-of-law framework that has enabled such innovation to occur and get to market. Specifically, intellectual property rights.” 

Full information on the 2016 WEF meetings in Davos can be found here.  WEF’s full 2015-16 Global Competitiveness Report can be viewed here.  Further detailed information and statistics for each of the countries and factors reviewed by this report can be viewed and analysed here