Time and time again history has demonstrated how, when faced with unprecedented challenges and significant obstacles, the world pins its hope for a better future on innovation. The coronavirus pandemic has been no different—a sentiment underscored in this year’s Intellectual Property Rights Index (IPRI), an annual report recently released by IP Progress partner Property Rights Alliance.
As it has done in years past, the 2020 IPRI provides insight into the state of property rights globally, ranking the strength of protections for both physical and intellectual property in 129 countries around the world. Unlike previous reports, however, the latest index highlights the impact and role of these rights and protections within the context of the global response to the COVID-19 outbreak that has touched virtually all aspects of industry, society and culture in nearly every corner of the world.
The report’s rankings are centered around the evaluation of three core components across each of the countries and regions included in the index: a country’s legal and political environment (LP), its physical property rights (PPR), and its intellectual property rights (IPR). Taken together, these metrics make up the total IPRI score; analysis of these components provided critical insight and revealed several key findings published in this year’s index:
- Consistent with previous years, the average strength of property rights for countries around the world has remained, for the most part, stable. And countries with high IPRI scores also showed high income and development levels, underscoring the positive relationship between robust property rights regimes and quality of life.
- The countries with the highest potential to strengthen their property rights protections and systems also face some of the biggest challenges around economic, political and social prosperity.
“The relevance of respecting intellectual property rights is the promotion of social and economic incentives to stimulate creation, innovation and its dissemination. And its positive results are evidenced in the creation of dynamic, efficient systems with short and long terms effects.” - 2020 Intellectual Property Rights Index
Given the context of the global health crisis the world is currently grappling with, as well as the critical role of property rights and innovation in addressing this pandemic, the 2020 IPRI also underscored how strong property rights regimes will impact our progress against the coronavirus outbreak.
The index points out, “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted not only the global fragility of health systems, but also the urgent need to strengthen health research and biotechnology innovations.” The IPRI also notes that “environmental factors…allowed the pharmaceutical sector to levy a robust response to the pandemic by creating vaccines and advancing cutting edge science in record time” to build on this, the Property Rights Alliance plans to release a forthcoming, accompanying case study that does a deep dive into the factors that have enabled the rapid COVID-19 vaccine development we’ve seen in recent months.
In short, the 2020 IPRI findings show that intellectual property protections, in concert with robust legal and political structures and strong physical property protections correlate with stronger development and higher quality of life; these protections enable and support thriving innovation environments that have the potential to address and combat some of the world’s most urgent and pressing crises and threats. Now more than ever it’s critical to heed these findings and continue to foster, strengthen and protect property rights across all regions of the world.