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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

GIPI 4 now published: UK regains top spot from Germans, but only just

The fourth, largest and most complete report on the Global Intellectual Property Index, compiled by the Z/Yen Group in cooperation with the City of London Corporation, was launched this morning in the London premises of sponsoring law firm Taylor Wessing LLP.  This index, which charts the user-friendliness and functionality of a number of IP-sensitive jurisdictions in terms of how they protect, administer and enforce IP rights, reflects the results of a survey spanning 36 countries -- up by 12 from the 24 territories examined in GIPI 3 -- and incorporates some 14,000 assessments of national performance based on no fewer than 74 objective criteria. The comparison is done on a topic-by-topic basis (patents, trade marks, copyright, design and data protection and there is also an aggregated comparison based on all five subject headings cumulatively. The parameters of the survey and its methodology are explained in more detail than many readers will want to know about, in the Report itself.

In the aggregated table, the United Kingdom regains the top spot which it lost to Germany in the GIPI 3, with the Netherlands rising from equal fifth to hold third place.  Having said that, the leading territories in the survey are so closely bunched together that the difference between their ratings is scarcely statistically significant.  The United States slips from fourth to tenth, this being mirrored by Canada's slide from equal fifth to eleventh and Mexico's tumble from fourteenth to thirtieth (this is not as bad as it seems: much of that fall is accounted for by the entry of new territories ahead of Mexico).

Sadly, despite the large amount of effort expended by China and India in improving their IP systems in recent times, they come in at 35 and 36 respectively; perhaps the impact of their ongoing reforms came too late for this year's survey.  Other poor performers included Brazil, which hosts the next Summer Olympics and Football World Cup, Argentina (with which Brazil shares a not insignificant border), Indonesia and Ukraine.

Do these tables, and the data upon which they were compiled, really mean anything?  14,000 assessments can represent only a small proportion of the millions of rights registered, opposed, cancelled and litigated across 36 jurisdictions; also, they will inevitably represent only the opinions and experiences of those who were sufficiently motivated to complete a not insubstantial survey in the English language. However, they reflect a good deal of truth. For example, the 13 Member States of the European Union included in the survey are bunched in the top 22 places, with relatively little to split them in comparison with previous years, possibly reflecting both the continued impact of harmonisation within the EU and the greater degree to which judges, legal practitioners and administrators continue to share their experiences and learn from each other.  Also, legal and cultural attitudes to specific IPs may also be seen. The free-and-easy way in which the Dutch and Australians are sometimes perceived as dealing with copyright may account for their poor rating for copyright in relation to other rights, while Australia's high rating for trade marks, and those of the United States and Singapore for copyright, may suggest a particularly positive approach to dealing with it.

For the record, the United Kingdom came out top for trade marks and copyright, second for patents (where Germany unsurprisingly led the chart) but only fourth for designs.  Germany was top for both patents and designs (ahead of the UK and the Netherlands respectively), but only fourth for copyright.

Further comments on the figures for patents and copyrights can be found on PatLit and the 1709 Blog respectively. Posts on the figures for trade marks and designs will appear on the Class 46 and Class 99 weblogs a later this week.

To download a copy of GIPI 4, click here

To participate in the GIPI survey by rating those jurisdictions with which you are familiar, click on the Z/Yen Group's GIPI login here.

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