Intellectual Property Protection
February 8, 2008
Deep changes in the ways that people create ideas, goods, and wealth are reshaping the global economy. These changes make innovation—the creation of new goods and services—the center of economic activity. This new report explores the critical role of intellectual property protection (IPR) in a global information economy and argues that the extent to which countries protect intellectual property will determine how well they perform in the new economic environment.
The report examines the status of international IPR in general and the relation of IPR to innovation in such developing economies as China, India, and Brazil, among others. The author concludes that a well-constructed IP system accelerates innovation and that the damage from weak IP protections to developing nations’ abilities to innovate and grow outweighs any temporary benefit they might offer. Although IP protection is not sufficient in itself for innovation and growth, countries with strong IPR are better economic performers. Moreover, enforcement of IPR is a good measure of a country’s business environment. Countries with weak IPR have not performed as well as others and will perform even less well in the future knowledge economy if they do not improve their IP rules and the enforcement of rights.