Governments all over the world are looking for ways to improve their economies, help their citizens and build national capabilities in many areas of technology, information and culture. Private-sector companies and industries likewise are looking for ever-more competitive ways to succeed, by developing and incorporating creative and useful innovations into products and services that we all benefit from and enjoy in virtually every area of life.
This paper explores and explains the benefits of intellectual property (IP) protection in helping to achieve these important goals. Intellectual property rights (IPR)—the copyrights, patents, trademarks and similar rights upon which the lion’s share of creative and innovative products and services rely—have a vital role in growing the economies of developed and developing countries all over the world, in spurring innovation, in giving large and small firms a range of tools to help drive their success, and in benefitting consumers and society through a continuous stream of innovative, competitive products and services and an expansion of society’s overall state of knowledge.
This paper reviews how IPR works in five main areas:
1. Intellectual property protection benefits the economy.
2. Intellectual property protection promotes innovation.
3. Intellectual property protection helps firms monetize their innovations and
4. Intellectual property protection helps small and medium enterprises.
5. Intellectual property protection benefits consumers and society.
As the ‘knowledge economy’ advances, more and more of the value that firms and the overall economy achieve will come from high value-added intangibles—including IP in inventions, brands and works. In many companies even now, 80% or more of their market value is attributable to intangibles, including IP. In some small companies, the only value is the intellectual property they own in an exciting new innovation that they have developed. IPR has truly become an ‘intellectual currency’ helping to promote economic growth, company competitiveness and innovation world-wide.