Last month, the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC), in conjunction with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, released a report evaluating intellectual property (IP) laws in eleven different countries. The report used five general categories—patent law, copyright law, trademark law, enforcement thereof, and participation in international treaties—as a basis for evaluation. The United States was ranked the highest of those studied, meaning its IP protection is the strongest in the world; worst among the eleven were Russia, Brazil, China, and India.
Brazil, Russia, China, and India have something else in common, however. Despite weak IP protection, these four countries have the fastest-growing emerging economies. In a February 2012 report by Price Waterhouse Coopers, these four countries—the “BRIC” nations—had average annual growth rates between five and nine percent in terms of GDP, up to three times the growth rate of the U.S.
Another recent report issued by the Republican Study Committee (RSC) indicates a shift in—or, at the very least, a questioning of—the general milieu surrounding IP protection. The paper, entitled “Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix It” was authored by Derek S. Khanna, who was later removed from the RSC amidst intense backlash from the entertainment industry. Before being retracted, Khanna’s analysis concluded that overzealous copyright law was responsible for “retard[ing] the creation of a robust DJ/remix industry,…hampering scientific inquiry, [and] penalizing legitimate journalism and oversight.” He also offered different ideas for IP reforms, including limiting the length of time a work can remain under copyright.