IP Index: up, but long way to go

IP Index: up, but long way to go

Intellectual Property Rights

The improvement made by India this year in its performance in the area of intellectual property and its protection is remarkable and creditable. In the Global Innovation Policy Centre’s (GIPC) Intellectual Property Index (IP Index), which was published recently, India has improved its score and rank significantly, jumping from 44th position last year to 36 this year. The index, based on the performance of 50 countries, is a measure of how strong a country’s intellectual property system is. India’s score has increased from 12.03 out of 40 to 16.22 out of 45. Last year also, India had made the highest gain for any country. The GIPC has said that the improvement “reflects important reforms implemented in India towards building and sustaining an innovation ecosystem for domestic entrepreneurs and foreign investors alike.” The IP Index is based on 45 indicators relating to patents, copy rights and trademark protection and covers 90% of the scientific, technical and economic output in the world. The US and the UK lead the index. 

Innovative policies and practices make the economy competitive. The best and most productive economies are the most competitive. Societies and economies advance by access to, expansion of and continuous updating of knowledge. Innovation is necessary not only in high-tech sectors but in basic areas like agriculture. Manufacturing and services sectors, which employ large numbers of people, gain vastly from improved technologies which lead to increases in productivity. Countries which have a high IP index also attract more foreign investments. An environment that encourages and facilitates research and development and creation and protection of patents, copy rights and trademarks is the essential feature of a modern economy.

India has lagged in this respect because it did not have an education system, industrial culture and official policies which supported such an environment. It may be changing, but the report has noted that there are still many problems and weaknesses relating to licensing and technology transfer and patenting rules and procedures. There is the need for reforms and improvements in these areas. It should be noted that despite the gains this year, India is in the bottom half of the ladder and is the worst performer among the BRICS countries. While policies and procedures have to improve, the area that needs most changes is education. Education should promote the culture of curiosity and questioning and encourage innovative and scientific spirit among students. India’s system has to change a lot for this.