Digital economy

New sources of growth- Phase 2, Knowledge-based capital


Enquiries into Intellectual Property's Economic Impact

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Chapter 1: Synthesis

Chapter 2: Measuring the Technological and Economic Value of Patents 

Chapter 3: Approaches to the Protection of Trade Secrets

Chapter 4: An Empirical Assessment of the Economic Implications of Protection for Trade Secrets

Chapter 5: Copyright in the Digital Era: Country Studies

Chapter 6: Design and Design Frameworks: Investing in KBC and Economic Performance

Chapter 7: Legal Aspects of Open Access to Publicly Funded Research

Chapter 8: Summary of the Expert Workshop, "Society's Gain from the Intellectual Property Exchange"

Chapter 9: IP-Based Financing of Innovative Firms


Investment and growth in OECD economies is increasingly driven by investment in intangible assets, also known as knowledge-based capital (KBC). In many OECD countries, firms now invest as much or more in KBC as they do in physical capital such as machinery, equipment and buildings. This shift reflects a variety of long-term economic and institutional transformations in OECD economies.

The rise of KBC creates new challenges for policymakers, for business and for the ways in which economic activity is measured. Many policy frameworks and institutions are still best suited to a world in which physical capital drove growth. New thinking is needed to update a range of policy frameworks – from tax and competition policies to corporate reporting and intellectual property rights. Two key findings of phase one of the Knowledge-based capital project were that

  1. business investment in KBC is linked to growth and higher productivity, and

  2. KBC has become more prevalent in OECD economies, spreading across many different industries, growing over time in the aggregate, and developing into the largest form of business investment in an increasing number of countries. Because so much KBC is protected by intellectual property rights, IP-protected capital has taken on an increasingly prominent and extensive role in economic activity as KBC has grown.

As part of phase two of the KBC project, this report takes a closer look at IP’s role in OECD economies while examining some of the most significant changes to the landscape in which it is operating, including digitisation and the growth of the Internet.


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