US and UK retain top spots in global IP index amid claims global drive to improve protection may be stagnating

The scores of 28 countries remain unchanged in International Intellectual Property (IP) index from the US Chamber of Commerce

International IP index 2023 Shutterstock

The US and UK have once again come first and second, respectively, in the International Intellectual Property (IP) index from the US Chamber of Commerce.

Now in its 11th edition, the index from the influential business and lobbying organisation, benchmarks the IP framework in 55 global economies across 50 indicators.

The US, UK, France, Germany and Sweden secured the top five positions, see the table below to view the top 10 countries and their previous rankings.

The US and UK's overall score remains unchanged in the 2023 edition, at 95.48% and 94.14%. In total, 28 countries’ scores remain unchanged, with the report suggesting that it shows that progress to improve global IP protection maybe ‘stagnating’.

Discussing its key strengths, the report says the UK has a strong and sophisticated national IP environment and is a model for injunctive-style relief for rightsholders when battling online infringement.

However, the report notes, it has limited criminal sanctions for the theft and misappropriation of trade secrets. It also says the UK retaining the EU's supplementary protection certificate (SPC) manufacturing waiver is a ‘significant risk to the UK’s research and IP-based biopharma industry’. 

An SPC extends the duration of some of the rights associated with drug patents. The SPC waiver allows producers of generic and biosimilar products to manufacture products during the effective SPC period for export purposes to third (non-EU) countries and to stockpile during the last six months of the validity of the SPC for the domestic market.

The EU's SPC manufacturing waiver ‘weakens the scope of the exclusive rights conferred by an SPC and sends a negative signal to the world that the EU is weakening its commitment to IP incentives and innovation', says the report. 

Chief executive and comptroller-general of the UK Intellectual Property Office Adam Williams said: “ I am thrilled that the UK’s IP environment has again been recognised by the US Chamber of Commerce as one of the strongest in the world – ranked second within the International IP Index. This year’s terrific result cements the UK IP environment’s status as a global leader, helping make the UK one of the best places in the world for new ideas and discoveries to flourish.”

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As in previous editions of the index, each indicator can score values between 0 and 1, and the cumulative score of the Index ranges from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 50. Some examples of indicators include terms of exclusivity, types of legislation in place and rates of physical counterfeiting and software piracy.

Some economies did make modest progress: Morocco, Thailand and Vietnam had the largest improvements in their overall score at 2.5%, 2.5% and 2.02%, respectively.

Asia had the greatest improvement in the regional average score as a result of score improvements in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as Thailand and Vietnam. Russia’s score, on the other hand, dropped 21.62% as a result of a series of measures taken by Russia targeting international rightsholders.

The report is critical of moves by the World Trade Organisation and WHO to waive IP rights in the development of Covid-19 vaccines, saying they ‘undermine the innovation ecosystem that was pivotal to combating Covid-19 and threaten the ability to respond effectively to the next major global public health threat’.

It is also critical of policy proposals in the US and EU. In the US this includes the 2021 Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. Here, the US is considering changes to the patent framework to address concerns about drug prices. The report believes these proposals ‘undermine the US life sciences ecosystem and the many US jobs supported by IP-driven innovation’.

Top 10 Countries - IP Index 2023, Source: US Chamber of Commerce

Rank (2022)CountryScore %
1 (1)US95.48
2 (2)UK94.14
3 (5)France93.12
4 (3)Germany 92.46
5 (4) Sweden 92.14
6 (6)Japan91.26
7 (7)The Netherlands90.70
8 (8)Ireland 89.36
9 (10)Spain 86.44
10 (9)Switzerland 86.00

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