350. The representative of WIPO said that the face of innovation was changing as seen in WIPO's first World Intellectual Property Report, 2011 (WIPR). This report had carefully considered studies that had been done in the field of innovation and relevant data in order to summarize dispassionately, and in a manner accessible to policy makers, the evidence on global innovation. He said that the report set out that innovation accounted for as much as 80% of economy-wide productivity growth in developed countries and that, while there was less evidence available for developing countries, studies had shown that if one took a broader view of innovation to include incremental product and process innovation, innovation played a similarly important role in less developed economies.
351. Data on R&D expenditures showed that global investments in R&D had almost doubled in real terms from 1993 to 2009 and global R&D expenditures had grown more rapidly than global gross domestic product, which led global R&D intensity to grow from 1.7% in 1993 to 1.9% in 2009. At the same time, it was important to point out that 70% of global R&D spending still took place in high-income countries. Developing countries had increased their global R&D share by 13% between 1993 and 2009. China alone accounted for more than 10% of this increase, which propelled it to second place as the world's second largest R&D spender in 2009. Some data were also available on broader investments in intangible assets that went beyond pure R&D activities and considered investments in marketing and branding as well as in skills development. Data were limited to some developed countries but they uniformly showed that firms' investments in intangible assets had grown more rapidly than their investments in tangible assets. And in some countries firms invested more in intangible assets than they did in tangible assets.
352. Many analysts had pointed to the rising importance of non-technological innovation, including organizational, marketing, design, and logistical innovation, but it remained difficult to empirically assess the true importance of non-technological innovation. One had to make a clear distinction between non-technological and technological innovation because many non-technological, organizational, and logistical innovations ultimately relied on improvements in technology, for example, improvements in information and communication technologies.
353. Another important point was that innovation was increasingly international in nature. There had been a sharp increase in the share of peer-reviewed science and engineering articles with international co-authorship and a rising share of patents that listed inventors from more than one country. There had been greater geographical diversity of multinational firms' R&D operations that invested in R&D facilities in a greater number of countries and also increasingly in emerging economies.
354. Many analysts had pointed out that innovation had become more collaborative and open. The WIPR had described the process of open innovation, whereby firms who practice open innovation strategically managed inflows and outflows of knowledge, so that they collaborated horizontally with other competitors and vertically with suppliers, as well as with customers. Looking at the economy-wide significance of this phenomenon, he said that it remained difficult to assess its true extent. There were signs of greater co-operation in inventing as reflected in greater co-patenting activity. There was also an upward trend in R&D alliances, though that mainly happened in the 1990s. There was also a rise in knowledge markets, for example in the form of IP exchanges and brokerages. However, it was important to point out that those were still nascent, and relatively small in size. So it remained difficult to assess the true scale and systemic importance of some of the innovation models that business analysts had written about.
355. With regard to the role of IP in the innovation process, it was recognized that IP was just one of the many policy instruments that existed to support innovation. The demand for patents had risen from around 800,000 applications per year worldwide in the early 1980s to close to two million patent filings in 2010. This increase had occurred in different waves with Japan driving the filing growth in the 1980s, joined by the United States, Europe and the Republic of Korea in the 1990s, and more recently by China. He said that one equally saw rapid growth for other IPRs. Trademark filings had increased from around one million in the early 1990s to 3.5 million in 2010. WIPO's research had shown that over the last 15 years around half of the growth in patent filings had been due to first filings of patents, which approximated the filings of new inventions, and the other half was due to subsequent filings, namely patent filings for the same inventions in additional patent offices.
356. He said that from the writings of economists on the patent system, the WIPR highlighted a number of ways in which views on the IP system had changed. A traditional view that was still valid, based on evidence from survey of companies, suggested that patents were of greatest importance for appropriating investments in innovation in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, reflecting the long R&D cycles in these industries as well as the ease with which new chemical compounds could be copied once they were on the market. In many other industries product life cycles were shorter and companies had other means of appropriating their investments in R&D, such as being the first on the market or rapidly moving down the technology learning curve. Interestingly though and somewhat puzzling for some economists, most of the growth in patenting had actually not occurred in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries but in other industries, especially in information and communication technologies. And answers to those empirical patterns were quite complex. While it did reflect the rapid technological progress that had occurred in that industry, it also reflected considerations of strategic patenting and patent portfolio races that had emerged between companies.
357. An often under-appreciated role of the patent system was that of facilitating specialization. Firms might be good at innovating but they might not necessarily be good at manufacturing. The patent system allowed firms to specialize in innovating and then licensing their innovations to other companies. One of the fundamental insights in the history of economic thought was that specialization was an important source of efficiency and ultimately economic growth. On the role of IPRs in harnessing public research for innovation, he said that universities and public research organizations held substantial shares of overall R&D spending, especially in developing countries where they often accounted for the great majority of R&D expenditures. Many countries had developed frameworks to incentivize patenting by these institutions and subsequent commercial development of their inventions through technology transfer offices. It was important to note that public-private knowledge exchanges occurred through a number of channels, not only through the licensing of patented technologies but also through scientific publishing, research collaborations, conference attendance and other forms.
358. At the same time, evidence had shown that patenting and the activities of technology transfer offices could widen opportunities for commercializing university inventions. It was obvious that institutional design mattered and establishing a successful technology transfer framework took time and resources. But in principle those important organizations could contribute to the commercialization of scientific knowledge that often came out of the public sector.
359. Another representative of WIPO continued that the continuing debate on the link between innovation, creativity, IP and economic development increasingly underscored the need for more empirical analysis and research on the topic. Upon a request from its member States, WIPO had developed a methodology to measure the economic contribution of the copyright-based industries. Studies carried out in 35 WIPO Member States suggested that 5.4% of the GDP in the countries surveyed and 5.8% of the employment in them came from the industries that were based on copyright and related rights protection. The studies also suggested that these industries were characterized by higher productivity levels, multipliers and growth dynamics – on average 2.5 times higher than the average growth rate in the countries that had been surveyed. Both developed and developing countries had shown that the creative sector had a remarkable growth potential. WIPO was looking into developing new methodologies that would deepen and broaden the analysis in the field of economics of copyright, namely on issues like the direct impact of copyright protection, some of the non-economic impacts of creativity in copyright, the effect of non-compliance and other issues.