IP or not IP, that is the question

European Perspective U.K. intellectual property law firm Taylor Wessing has come up with a Global IP Index, ranking and rating jurisdictions as to their suitability to obtain, exploit, enforce, or attack trademarks, patents and

April 6, 2018

IP or not IP, that is the question

European Perspective

U.K. intellectual property law firm Taylor Wessing has come up with a Global IP Index, ranking and rating jurisdictions as to their suitability to obtain, exploit, enforce, or attack trademarks, patents and copyrights. Basically, it's an index of where are the best places to register and enforce IP.

The index is not simple. Taylor Wessing sent out a long and complex questionnaire to involved parties across 22 countries and made an analysis of some 350 replies. It then came up with a complex matrix of ratings, using a statistical model that cuts out any home assessment bias. The overall index (published here) brings together three separate indices, one for trademarks, one for patents and one for copyrights.

The top three countries are consistently the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany, rather unsurprisingly. Although they also have the highest costs of obtaining, exploiting, enforcing, and attacking IP, they tend to have the tightest registration and enforcement regimes. In these

countries, according to Taylor Wessing, there is speed, certainty and respected judges.

There is a slight aberration for the United States: In the trademark index it is ranked at a lowly six. Taylor Wessing says this is because the United States has a complex procedure for obtaining trademarks, and it has a very "crowded" registry. The flip side of this difficulty is that the United States is the top country for exporting copyright and in this index is ranked at the top.

If you disregard the patents index, which is not so relevant in the licensing industry (and in any case threw up similar rankings), there are some other surprises. Harmonization across the European Union is clearly not working, as you would expect all European countries to have similar rankings. In fact, harmonization is at different stages in trademarks and copyrights, and there are significant disparities across Europe with no effective centralized system.

As a result, Italy comes in at 17 out of 22 in the trademark index and is ranked 15 in the copyright index—part of a "slow process" effect, according to Taylor Wessing. And cultural differences are yet to be ironed out in terms of common law. The French model is that author's rights dominate, as opposed to the U.K./U.S. model of ownership prevailing.

Brazil, Russia, India and China—known collectively as BRIC—consistently rank at the bottom.

Taylor Wessing plans to update the survey regularly, perhaps even annually. What's the point? Well the point may be to forget the top end of the index and look at the bottom end. These are countries to watch as their consumer markets develop, as they develop their IP, and increasingly want to be jurisdictions in which international IP owners feel safe.

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