International IP Index 2021: US top the list followed by UK and Germany

Recently, the US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) released their Ninth Annual International IP index titled “Recovery through Ingenuity”. This index provides the global intellectual property ranking comparing the world’s developed and emerging markets. The index shows that despite the pandemic, the global performance of IP has improved with the United States, Japan, and Europe taking the top spot. Various other emerging markets have shown improvements such as United Arab Emirates, China, and Mexico which shows that the strong IP economies have played a tremendous role in combating Covid-19. This report covers 53 global economies across 50 unique indicators whereby, 32 indicators have shown positive improvement over the 2020 report despite pandemics.

Global Economy

As per the information released in the GIPC, this index “illustrates that economies with the most effective IP frameworks are more likely to achieve the socio-economic benefits needed to combat COVID-19, including greater access to venture capital, increased private sector investment in research and development, and over 10 times more clinical trial activity.”

The report stated that such IP regimes have worked in the development of therapeutic solutions to combat Covid-19 which included the development of vaccines. Such strong measures are the result of decades of scientific research which was quickly employed during the pandemic and was made available to the public. The report states that “As governments pivot their focus to the distribution of the vaccine, IP will be critical to facilitating licensing and technology transfer while also expediting the manufacturing and delivery of vaccines and therapeutics.”

Emerging Economies

With the index publishing the ranking of global IP regime, countries such as China, India have shown a majority increase in the score. Where China shows an increase in the score of 18.34%, India improves to 13.44%. Mexico implemented the commitments in the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) following which also shows an overall increase of 3.87% in the score. To this, the GIPC release also states that Mexico forfeited more substantive gains for life sciences IP protection when critical protections were removed from the final agreement.

IP Index

Comparing the score in 2020-2021, China has shown an overall increase of 3.90% in the score with an overall score of 54.86%. This improvement in the score of China can be attributed to the response of trade agreement with the United States which has also attributed to improving the domestic IP regime of China. The report states, “However, ongoing market access barriers, uneven enforcement, measures requiring forced technology transfer, and serious deficiencies in the rule of law continue to make the business environment in China highly challenging for rights holders.”

The US tops the list with an overall score of 95.31 and a slight change of .03% from 2020. The top 5 spots were covered by the US, UK, Germany, France, and Japan. Comparing the top 5 countries, Germany has improved its score by 1.19%. Some of the positive steps taken by USPTO like the guidelines on the patent-eligible subject matter have led to the decrease in the first office rejection for Alice-related technologies. All such positive steps have taken the US to the top spot. Despite the positive approach, the report also identified three weaknesses such as the proposal for compulsory licensing and pharmaceutical cost-containment policy. Continued uncertainty over patentability and lack of targeted legal basis for online piracy were also some of the weaknesses for the US as per the report.

Being the massive economic driver, IP continues to be the biggest driver of the economy of the country. According to the US Department of Commerce, IP supports $6 trillion in GDP and more than 45 million jobs. For the category of “Patents, Related Rights and Limitation”, Singapore scored 97.22% followed by Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United States, all having 94.44%.

“The international IP system gave the innovative scientific community the capacity to respond to the global pandemic,” said David Hirschmann, President and CEO of GIPC in a statement. “Countries with the most effective IP ecosystems – as measured by the 2021 Index – become trusted partners in our mission to develop, manufacture, and distribute the solutions needed to defeat COVID-19 in record time. Now is the time to build greater international consensus and capacity on IP, to enable all countries and the next generation to build a sustained economic recovery through ingenuity.”

Author: Saransh Chaturvedi (an advocate) currently pursuing LLM from Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law (IIT Kharagpur).  In case of any queries please contact/write back Global Patent Filing us at

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