Each year for the last five years the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has published a massive report on the state of global intellectual property protection. The report is, frankly, staggering in its ambition. It provides a report card for IP protection for forty-five countries around the world, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.
The report gives us an opportunity to review how well the U.S. compares with other countries in IP protection. In some areas, such as copyrights, the U.S. is a world leader. In trademarks, we’re number 5, behind Germany and ahead of Japan. In patents, we’re tied with Hungary for number 10.
Wait a minute. Number 10? Weren’t we number 1 for patent protection in the 2016 report? As a matter of fact, we were. The 2017 report cites as a weakness of U.S. patenting:
Increasingly narrow interpretation of patentability of biotech inventions and CIIs [computer implemented inventions].
The report also cites ‘inconsistent enforcement against counterfeit and pirated goods, especially online.’
So what does this mean for inventors?
The underlying philosophy behind the report is that effective IP protection at the national level promotes innovation and grows economies, jobs and wealth. The report reflects the priorities and positions of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is a business advocacy organization and is the largest lobbying group in the U.S. in terms of money spent. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is not known for its radical views and supports only conservative, business-friendly candidates for office.
For the last decade or so, the U.S. patent system has been under attack by those who favor a weak, ineffective patent system. The 2017 report provides ammunition for advocates for a strong patent system, such as the Chief Patent Counsel of IBM. Every invention owner should take heart that the largest business lobbying organization in the country is advocating stronger patent rights for U.S. inventors and businesses.
— Robert Yarbrough, Esq.