Simona’s post was originally posted for AmCham EU
For some, intellectual property (IP) is an abstract and ambiguous concept, but in fact, it is a key driver of the global economy, responsible for 90% of the value of S&P 500 companies. This intangible asset contributes to it alone doubles what physical capital does to the value of trade. But what is intellectual property? And how can it support the next generation as they seek to innovate and drive a more sustainable future?
The impact of intellectual property
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) defines IP as “creations of the mind such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs and symbols, names and images used in trade”. These range from simple and recognizable brand symbols to complex and revolutionary software systems, including cloud computing services. Intellectual property rights (IPRs), in turn, give creators the exclusive right to their ideas and allow them to monetize their innovations for a period of time – and their impact is extraordinary.
Intellectual property is the second largest sector of trade in digital services between the EU and the United States. In 2021, intellectual property fees (payments made or received as part of the enforcement of intellectual property rights) accounted for 26% of US digital services exports to the EU and 20% of digital services exports from the EU to the United States.
However, intellectual property is not just a source of income. It is above all a tool to encourage the search for innovative and sustainable solutions and technologies. For example, backed by strong intellectual property rights and protection, RDTS Technologies has developed the world’s first safety system that manipulates road and railroad surfaces to provide optimal braking traction against water. , sand and other surface contaminants. With the right protections in place, intellectual property can improve our lives.
Youth: an IP gold mine
To promote innovative solutions like this, innovation at all levels must be encouraged. To do this, we must develop a robust and cost-effective system for obtaining, authorizing and enforcing all forms of IPR. Without sufficient support, young entrepreneurs cannot overcome the challenges they face in developing their creative innovations, including financial barriers, low visibility, or limited understanding of intellectual property and incentive systems. With the pace of innovation accelerating, Europe’s youth have a greater need for creative, disruptive and sustainable solutions to many of our most pressing challenges.
The digital hyperdrive is revolutionizing the way we live, so it’s just as important that our IP practices and tools evolve alongside our technology. No generation is as prepared for these changes as today’s youth. As digital natives, Millennials and Generation Z hold enormous potential as a source of entrepreneurial innovation fused with the ambition to shape the world of tomorrow. Backed by a strong and effective intellectual property system, they have the potential to create extraordinary solutions that support the transition to a fully digital, sustainable and financially stable future.
To encourage these breakthrough innovations, a strong IPR system must support inventors and creators, online and offline. This requires, among other things, sustained collaboration with the bodies responsible for the enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries in order to facilitate the sharing of information on infringements and best practices. In addition, a more visible counterfeiting and piracy watchlist in the EU and a soon to be introduced unitary patent system would both strengthen IPR protection. All of these objectives must also be in line with existing regulatory tools and achieved through constant collaboration and stakeholder involvement.
In an era of increasing competition in global innovation, it is essential that US and European policymakers cooperate on IPR challenges through the Trade and Technology Council to harness and strengthen technology leadership on both sides of Atlantic. But, as intellectual property becomes a critical asset for all economies around the world, policymakers must also listen to our new group of emerging business leaders. With the right level of collaboration, future generations will have the cornerstone they need to build a better future.