Scientific American evaluated the strength of intellectual property in 48 countries (click on chart on top left side of story for data) in its Worldview Scorecard including a chart with country rankings. This data* is based on patentable inventions, membership of international treaties, duration of protection, enforcement mechanisms and restrictions (e.g., compulsory licensing).
The U.S. holds the top spot, followed closely by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and the Netherlands (all tied for 2nd place!).
Based on the report, a few basic principles emerge:
1. Any strategy that is not based on strong IP protection is likely to discourage domestic investments by foreign firms.
2. As the biotechnology field grows, increasing global IP protection will become more crucial than ever. Indeed, as countries new to the innovative side of biotechnology enter the arena, they too will seek IP protection for their products.
3. The ability to protect discoveries etches boundaries in the biotech landscape, distinguishing where to do business and where to be wary.
*Source: Park, W.G. 2008. International patent protection: 1960-2005. Research Policy 37:761-766.