On February 7, the U.S. Assembly of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) discharged the most recent variant of its International IP Index surveying the licensed innovation situations in 50 world economies. By and by, the United States accomplished the best by and large positioning as the most grounded licensed innovation routine on the planet. The nation’s enhanced positioning in patent rights—moving from its twelfth-place positioning in 2018 to a tie for second spot this year—is especially striking. Notwithstanding, the United States finds itself tied with 10 different nations for that second-place positioning in patent rights and is similarly as near being tied with thirteenth-place Italy all things considered to being tied with the lead position Singapore.
Intellectual Property More Prominent on International Stage
As the official synopsis of the GIPC’s International IP Index notes, licensed innovation has turned into a substantially more imperative point in global undertakings over the previous year. IP issues have been at the focal point of the progressing exchange debate between the U.S. also, China and assumed a noteworthy job in the arrangements paving the way to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) which was marked by those three nations last November. The rundown additionally noticed that the United States’ enhanced positioning in patent rights was an aftereffect of changes presented by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that are relied upon to lessen unconventionality in the country’s patent restriction framework. These incorporate changes from the adjustment in the case development standard utilized in entomb partes audit (IPR) procedures, to the Phillips standard utilized in government courts, the new Trial Practice Guide elucidating the grounds on which an IPR might be organized, and changes to standard working methods identified with judge assignments and issuing precedential suppositions.
The United States’ best by and large positioning in the International IP Index was upheld by key regions of solidarity including the new standard for universal IP securities made by the US-Mexico Free Trade Agreement (USMCA) and its situation as a worldwide pioneer and standard setter for IP rights authorization and insurance. Key zones of soft spot for the United States incorporate both proceeded with vulnerability over patentability in innovative parts and an absence of a focused on lawful reason for tending to online robbery in accordance with other worldwide pioneers.
Another key zone of shortcoming recognized in the current year’s Index includes a 2018 Congressional proposition for necessary permitting as a pharmaceutical cost regulation strategy. Such a proposition was incorporated into H.R. 6505, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act of 2018, presented by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) in July 2018. Such necessary permitting measures would ostensibly undermine America’s situation as the worldwide pioneer in biopharmaceutical advancement because of the basic factor played by IP rights in supporting the billions of dollars of speculation expected to grow new medications and medicines. The section of such enactment would have totally cleared out the United States’ score on one of the IP Index’s marker measures and would have dropped the U.S. to second-put generally speaking and sixteenth in the patent rankings, to tie with Israel.
GIPC Representatives Weigh In
During a press call announcing the findings of the IP Index, Meir Pugatch of the Pugatch Consilium, the consultancy firm which compiled the IP Index, noted that the 50 economies covered by the report represented 90 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). Pugatch talked about some significant positive moves in India, which climbed eight spots in the overall rankings up to thirty-sixth this year and increased its score by nearly 20%, thanks to joining the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Internet Treaties and signing a Patent Prosecution Highway agreement with Japan. Pugatch also referenced Taiwan’s improved score as a result of establishing a linkage mechanism between pharmaceutical patents and drugs approved for sale in the country. Pugatch did note that there was negative movement in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Vietnam and Kenya, in some instances owing to efforts to restrict licensing deals and trade secrets. “Overall, we do see that countries are taking their IP environments more seriously than before,” Pugatch said.
Following Pugatch was Ellen Szymanski, Executive Director of International Policy for the GIPC, who spoke about the great deal of interest being shown in China’s IP system. Although China had made significant strides in recent editions of the International IP Index, “China’s rise in the IP index has come to a standstill,” Szymanski said, and the country currently stands at a crossroads due to the sheer scale of IP theft committed by the country and the large number of counterfeit products which are exported throughout the world. “If China wants to be a valuable trading partner, it must have an open market and its government must take its thumb off the scale,” Szymanski said. She also talked about the USMCA representing a significant upgrade regarding IP provisions to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which it replaced, noting that the GIPC was very proud of the accomplishments of U.S. negotiators. However, she added that Article 32.6 of the USMCA included a carve-out for Canadian cultural industries, which affected the index score of the agreement as it was unclear how that carveout would affect IP provisions of the USMCA in practice.
Patrick Kilbride, Senior Vice President of GIPC, wrapped up the comment period of the press call. “Intellectual property, at its core, is a means to an end,” Kilbride said, “and the end we’re seeking is innovation and creativity.” He lauded the efforts of India to improve its national IP environment, noting that the country was last-place in the GIPC’s first International IP Index released in 2012. He also said he believed that the U.S. was rightly credited with democratizing intellectual property throughout the world. “We were very concerned when we saw the deteriorating predictability of the U.S. patent system over the past decade,” Kilbride said. However, he added that the GIPC was encouraged by the modest measures taken by the USPTO in the past year to restore predictability to patent rights.
In spite of Improvement, Issues Remain
The United States’ move to a tie for second place in the IP Index’s patent rankings is certainly welcome news but the nation’s patents and related rights score is 7.5—only 0.25 points ahead of thirteenth-place Italy and putting the country’s patent ranking in a seemingly tenuous position. Kilbride said that the U.S. did improve its patent score by 0.25 points in this year’s index due to USPTO Director Andrei Iancu’s efforts to address predictability issues, and while he acknowledged that the ranking scores were very tight, he pointed out that the U.S. was only 0.25 points behind of top-ranked Singapore in the patent rankings. Kilbride added that, while the IP Index covers a large number of factors, it was impossible to measure every factor affecting the country’s patent ranking. He also recognized that U.S. patent owners might point to continuing issues in obtaining injunctions against infringers or patent eligibility problems, which continue to impact the nation’s patent system.
Although the United States retains the top overall score in the International IP Index and increased its lead over second-place United Kingdom, the Index notes that the U.S.’ overall score actually declined slightly from 94.95% down to 94.80%. David Torstensson, Partner at the Pugatch Consilium and co-author of the Index, chalked up this marginal decrease in percentage score mainly to the introduction of new indicators to the Index, increasing the number of indicators measured from 40 up to 45. Torstensson added that the U.S. didn’t earn a perfect score in some of these new indicators, such as tax incentives for the creation of IP assets, creating the very small decrease in the nation’s overall percentage score.