Last week the Global IP Center released the fourth edition of its annual global IP report entitled Infinite Possibilities. The report assesses the “legislative, regulatory,
and administrative strength of the IP environment in each country measured." The more robust a country's IP
protections, the higher its report score.
Why are GIPC’s scores so important? To start, a strong global IP environment gives companies in all sectors an incentive to invest in research and development, fueling innovation. Strong IP protection also keeps consumers safe by discouraging the imitation of trusted brands. Notably, countries with higher IP scores tend to see greater benefits in economic activity across several different measures, including access to venture capital and generation of cutting-edge innovation.
GIPC’s report offers an opportunity to see how Canada stacks up against global competitors when it comes to IP protections and, more importantly, how it can improve. Canada’s score increased for the second year in a row, moving from 17.92/30 to 18.17/30. This small but important gain was in part a result of clarifying new border controls to stop the movement of counterfeit products.
While we should celebrate this progress, there is still work to do before Canada’s IP environment is on par with peer countries. As noted in the report:
“Despite increasing in each edition of the Index Canada’s score is still the lowest of all OECD economies and its national IP environment has consistently remained closer to middle-income economies such as Malaysia and Mexico, than the top performers in the Index such as the US and UK.”
What can Canada do to create an environment that fosters innovation and competitiveness? The report recommends several steps, including the following:
- Provide better mechanisms for pharmaceutical-related patent enforcement and resolution.
- Do away with burdensome patentability requirements that disproportionately impact the life sciences.
In Canada and around the world, IP environments are improving. But unless the proper protections are in place, we won't remain competitive with our economic counterparts.