WASHINGTON—For the fourth consecutive year, the U.S. ranked first in the world for the strength of its intellectual property rights, but was fifth internationally in IP rights enforcement, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday.
The chamber’s annual International IP Index compared 38 countries that together account for 85 percent of the world’s GDP, assessing them based on all major forms of IP rights from patents to copyrights and trade secrets.
In the U.S., IP industries account for 40 million jobs and 38 percent of the GDP, according to Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue.
“[IP] is vital to the next generation of smartphones, energy technology, clean water solutions and other world changing advancements and medical technology,” Donohue said.
Despite its top ranking in IP rights, the U.S. still has a problem in IP enforcement, the report noted.
“IP theft remains rampant and poses a threat to many vital American industries,” Donahue said.
The U.S. ranks fifth below the U.K., Sweden, Germany and France in the enforcement category, which measures IP infringement and criminal and civil legal procedures among rights holders.
The study said the U.S. is inconsistent against counterfeit and pirated goods, especially online, among other enforcement weaknesses.
“We’ve got the right rules but we’ve got to do more about enforcement,” Donahue said. “What good are protections if they have no teeth?”
Despite the lower ranking for enforcement, U.S. took first place for its overall IP environment because of strong protections for copyright, trade secrets, patents, market access and membership in international treaties. Behind the U.S. were the United Kingdom, Germany and France, , surpassing countries like China, Japan and Canada, which remained middle-tier economies as they did in the 2015 index.
India continued its historically dismal standing in the IP environment despite its economic growth in recent years, ranking 37th out of 38 countries with only Venezuela behind it.