Intellectual property (IP) helps to promote investment in new and improved products and processes, and allows innovators to make a return on their investment and creators to benefit from their original work. It also plays an important role in the dissemination and use of the knowledge and innovations contained for example in patent documents and registered designs. This may enable further technological and non-technological developments, may help creative industries to grow and flourish and may foster the creation and development of the market for ideas.
The use that market actors make of IP rights, the role of IP systems and the way IP rights are perceived by policy-makers and society at large have been changing over the years. This is due, among others, to the increasing importance of IP for production and trade, especially as Industry enters its 4.0 era; the role of IP for corporate strategy, competition and economic performance; the centrality of IP to the knowledge economy; and the way in which intellectual property is shaping and may shape the digital transformation of economies and societies.
In an effort to better balance private and social benefits, and thus contribute to both economic growth and the welfare of societies, IP right systems worldwide have in recent years undergone a number of changes. However, the ability of companies to take strategic decisions allowing them to perform and compete, and the possibility to design policies aimed at shaping IP systems and aligning them with societal goals, both require robust and reliable evidence to build upon.
In this respect IP data represent a unique source of information that can be used to inform a wide range of policy- and business-relevant decisions. These include: science and technology developments, R&D and innovation, entrepreneurship and enterprise dynamics, market structure and dynamics, trade and comparative advantage, and economic development and growth. IP data also reveal important facts about how IP systems themselves are performing, and thus help to better shape them.