Intellectual property (IP) rights are supposed to promote investment in activities aimed at developing new technologies and improved products and processes. IP rights give innovators and creators time-bound rights allowing them to benefit from their technological advances and original work, and to obtain a return on their investment. In addition, the information about the new technologies, products and services made publicly available through IP rights may allow others to build on this knowledge, thus enabling further technological advances and creativity. This may in turn help industries to grow and flourish, and foster the creation and development of the market for ideas.

As the digital transformation unfolds and markets get progressively more interlinked through global value chains, IP systems and IP rights both see their importance grow and get challenged along a number of dimensions. Empirical evidence is thus required to inform a number of business and policy-relevant questions, related to the nature and role of IP, including: which IP rights best suit 3D printing needs? Does Artificial Intelligence (AI) develop at a speed that makes (some) IP rights not fit for purpose? Do economic agents in fast developing technologies and markets ‘walk the talk’ and rely on IP-free strategies? What role do IP rights play with respect to the Internet of Things (IoT)? How to best align country-specific IP systems and IP rights with the needs of creative and production processes happening across countries?

These are among the questions that IP data and analysis can help inform, thus shedding light on decisions related to 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 can also help reveal important facts about how IP systems themselves are performing, and thus contribute to make their design aligned with the needs of the digital economy.

 

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