Thomas J. Donohue Thomas J. Donohue
Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


February 12, 2018


With many countries around the world experiencing promising economic gains, 2018 is an excellent time to strengthen policies that will spur the creativity and innovation necessary for long-term success. One powerful way to do so is by shoring up protections for intellectual property (IP) around the globe. By ensuring that those who conceive an idea reap the rewards of its success, governments can incentivize their citizens to develop innovations that lead to economic growth and job creation.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) laid out a roadmap to help governments foster innovation and IP. Protecting IP requires teamwork on a global scale. In our digital economy, if a song, movie, or piece of software created in America can be offered online for free in another country, then it can be downloaded illegally all over the world. As part of our efforts to help countries improve their IP laws, GIPC just released its annual International IP Index ranking 50 countries on specific IP measures. Consider this a report card of what each country is doing and can do to attract innovation and foster creative industries.

Overall, the report brought good news. The U.S., U.K., and EU led the Index, with the U.S. and U.K. standing side by side as global leaders in IP protection and enforcement. Further, the majority of economies took positive steps to strengthen their IP laws. Courts in major markets like Australia and the EU took steps to block pirated material. Several countries, including Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, invested in long-standing programs to enhance coordination among government agencies responsible for IP enforcement.

Nonetheless, IP-intensive industries continue to face significant market access barriers in key economies worldwide. Even in the U.S., the results were mixed—with significant steps forward in some areas and steps back in others. For example, while our nation strengthened border enforcement efforts to help stop counterfeit goods, the standards governing patent laws continued to create uncertainty for rights holders.

All countries have room for improvement in strengthening their IP laws. And they have much to gain by doing so. The strength of IP laws in a country strongly correlates to innovation, access to new products, and job creation in the knowledge-intensive industries that are increasingly critical to prosperous 21st century economies. To foster this growth and job creation and protect the fruits of American creativity, the Chamber will continue fighting for stronger IP protections at home and around the world.

About the authors

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue is advisor and former chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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