The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have far-reaching impacts beyond the spread of the virus itself, altering the socio-political and economic realities that have long governed our ways of life. However, property rights continue to serve as a critical tool for transforming ideas into innovative solutions to meet the demands of the moment, as highlighted in the 2021 Intellectual Property Rights Index (IPRI), an annual report recently released by IP Progress partner Property Rights Alliance.
Like previous years, the 2021 IPRI provides important insights on the strength of both physical and intellectual property rights, and the legal and political environments that support them, for 129 countries – showing the strong relationship between robust property rights and overall prosperity. The 2021 index highlights how a robust property rights ecosystem produced the first-of-its-kind mRNA vaccines and newly developed COVID-19 therapies, while also exploring the deep impact the pandemic has had on property rights systems across the world.
The report’s rankings are centered around the evaluation of three core components: a country’s Legal and Political Environment (LP), Physical Property Rights (PPR) and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). Analysis of these components revealed several key findings published in this year’s index:
- For a third consecutive year, there was a decrease in the overall score of the IPRI, and, this year, also for all its components. This suggests the need to counter the pandemic’s impact and double down on strong property rights systems to promote countries’ prosperity.
- Legal and Political Environment was the weakest component with a score of 5.08, followed by the Intellectual Property Rights component with a score of 5.24; Physical Property Rights was the strongest component with a score of 6.48 across all nations.
- Countries with high IPRI scores and related components continue to show strong income and development levels, indicating the positive relationship between property rights and quality of life, as exemplified by high income and high development.
Given the positive impact of robust property rights, the report specifically calls out the “short-sighted and misleading arguments” being used to support a proposal at the World Trade Organization to waive intellectual property (IP) protections associated with COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, and putting IP “under a constant attack.” Authors underscore that “for innovation to be as productive as possible, IP is essential, and the best way to harness creativity and enable the growth of innovative enterprises is through a reliable IP framework.”
Property rights continue to prove their ability to nurture economic growth and social development as well as promote prosperity and innovation. Now more than ever, it’s time to invest in and protect IP rights and the innovations they create to help stem the tide of COVID-19 and spearhead solutions for the future.
See the complete report here.
“For innovation to be as productive as possible, IP is essential, and the best way to harness creativity and enable the growth of innovative enterprises is through a reliable IP framework.”