ADVERTISEMENT
a product of Scientific American Custom Media
IP Protection

IP Protection

Finland maintains control of innovation’s keystone



We are committed to extending lifesaving medical technologies and addressing unmet medical needs in developing countries around the world,” declares a Johnson & Johnson website. “We believe that the best way to address these needs is for companies to work with local governments to develop approaches that benefit all involved parties, while continuing to uphold the value of IP in all parts of the world.” Beyond the invaluable goal of saving lives, incentives for discovering new biotechnology applications are driven by confidence in strong IP protection. Without it, far fewer scientists would take the risks that innovation requires.

A comprehensive understanding of IP strength involves objective and subjective elements, and the Scorecard considers both. For an objective measurement, we use a study (Park, W.G. Research Policy 37, 761–766 (2008)) that explores five measurements: patentable inventions, membership in international treaties, duration of protection, enforcement mechanisms, and restrictions. For a subjective measurement, we turn to another study (Schwab, K. The Global Competitiveness Report, 2014–2015. World Economic Forum (2014)), compiled from the opinions of business leaders about their perceptions of domestic IP protection.

In combining these two metrics, we find that Finland leads the category, as it did in 2015. And just behind it, the United States moved from eighth in 2015 to second this year. Ireland also rose up the ranks, from tenth to fifth. To stay competitive, a country must hold biotechnology’s keystone firmly in place. Strong IP protection can support the industry, but the sector collapses if IP protection fails.