Innovation policies and ecosystemsback to issues

Policy-makers are faced with the task of translating a wealth of information about innovation, trade, global supply chains, trends in technology, and other factors into laws and regulations. Below we provide business perspectives on what governments can do to support entrepreneurship, attract foreign technology partners, facilitate technology deployment and the diffusion of know-how, and reinforce domestic innovative capacity.

  • New Research on the Economic Impact of Technology Standards

    A new report - The Economic Impact of Technology Standards - written by Jorge Padilla, John Davies and Aleksandra Boutin and published by Compass Lexecon examines the innovation performance of industries that operate based on open technology standards, agreed through voluntary participation in industry bodies. The authors analyze in particular the mobile telephony industry, which has seen remarkable growth and technical progress. The authors attribute this in part to the highly competitive market structure at all levels of the supply chain. They argue that the institutions that set technical standards for the mobile industry are partly responsible for these economic outcomes. As part of their analysis, the authors distinguish between standards that are set by governments or by individual companies, which can give rise to inefficiencies, and voluntary standard-setting by technology providers and equipment manufacturers, which leads to more competition in production, as well as more specialised research firms and greater diversity in research. The authors argue that these positive outcomes depend on the ability of Standard Development Organisations to strike the right balance between the interests of technology developers and technology users. 

  • Research: Knowledge Spillovers in Emerging Countries

    In a new WIPO study, Kul B. Luintel and Mosahid Khan analyse how important are industrialized countries as sources of knowledge in emerging countries (EMEs). In this context, the authors examine ideas production and international knowledge spillovers in 31 EMEs. The results reveal that knowledge spillovers from the industrialized (OECD-20) world to emerging world (EME-31) via total imports, machinery imports, and FDI appear insignificant when measured by domestic patent filings. However, spillovers via inventors' mobility, geographical proximity, and disembodied channels appear positive and significant. The study also indicates a virtual lack of knowledge spillovers across EMEs. The authors outline policy implications, suggesting that “broadening of R&D strategy, encompassing wider sectors ─ i.e., more opening up of the economy by EMEs ─ may help improve international knowledge linkages."

  • ACTION for Trade

    A new DC-based coalition, consisting of a diverse group of trade associations, technology companies, and creative organizations, called ACTION for Trade has been launched on September, 19. The organization aims to ensure US trade policy and trade agreements foster innovation and creativity and appropriately protect the intellectual property. ACTION for Trade recognizes the critical role that creativity and innovation-based industries play in the US economy and will work to encourage protections that make IP-intensive American exports possible.

  • 2017 World Trade Report

    The 2017 edition of the WTO’s flagship study, the World Trade Report, examines how technology and trade affect labour markets. The paper, launched at the WTO Public Forum, highlights the crucial role technological progress and trade play in expanding economic output and increasing welfare. The Report notes that continued economic progress relies on the ability of societies to remain open to trade and technological advance, while also being able to adjust, adapt, and promote greater inclusiveness. It recognizes that certain types of workers and/or regions may be adversely affected, for example, by increased automation. However, more than ever before, workers are able to move from lower- to higher-productivity jobs, and from declining sectors to rising ones. Through a mix of adjustment, competitiveness, and compensation policies governments can help workers to adjust to technological change, while making sure that the economy captures the benefits from these changes. While today’s labour market problems are largely traceable to domestic policy shortcomings, a failure to find answers could have global ramifications, the study warns.

  • South Africa: Draft IP Policy Released

    The South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has released the "Draft IP Policy of the Republic of South Africa" (Phase 1). The South African IP Policy has been developed over several years, in consultation with a range of stakeholders and government agencies. It will be implemented in phases, with the first phase focused on select issues notably IP and public health and engagement in global IP policy forums. The IP Policy is expected to be published soon in the South African Government Gazette, at which point comments can be submitted within 60 days of publication.

  • WTO Report on Twenty Years of the ITA

    The WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA) commits participants to eliminate tariffs on a wide range of IT products with an annual value of approximately USD 1.7 trillion. To mark the twentieth anniversary of the Agreement, the WTO has just released a new report about the ITA. The publication reviews how the ITA has evolved since it was agreed in 1996, discussing in particular its recent expansion involving new commitments by participants to eliminate tariffs on 201 products valued at over $1.3 trillion per year. 

  • Brazil: Women in Tech

    In this article for Americas Quarterly, Danielle Renwick reviews the low numbers of female participation in tech endeavors in Brazil. Ms. Renwick reports that while women account for 60 per cent of university students in Brazil, just 15 per cent of computer science students are female. She presents stereotypes and attitudes in Brazil - similar to those elsewhere, including Silicon Valley - that can hold women (especially women of color) back in relation to STEM studies and employment. The article reviews the range of public and private initiatives - including education centers, advocacy campaigns, and innovation challenges with cash prizes to support further development of promising ideas - that are aimed at expanding female participation in the tech sector, particularly in tech entrepreneurship. 

  • EU: Citizens' Attitudes Towards IP

    The EU IP Office (EUIPO) has updated its 2013 survey about European attitudes towards intellectual property. The findings of the EUIPO's extensive survey reveal that 97 per cent of Europeans believe that IP should be respected, and that inventors, creators, and performing artists need to be adequately remunerated for their work. The full report, entitled “European Citizens and Intellectual Property: Perception, Awareness and Behavior”, is based on over 26,000 interviews of people across all 28 EU member States about their perceptions of IP.



  • US "Compulsory Licenses"

    In this article L. Scott Burwell and Amanda Lutz explain why the denial of injunctive relief by US courts is not akin to the issuance of compulsory licenses (CL).  The authors note that while, post-eBay, injunctive relief against infringers is no longer a virtual certainty, the courts continue to regularly award injunctive relief to patentees practicing their invention against direct, active competitors.  The authors enumerate the distinctions between courts' denial of injunctive relief under certain circumstances, on the one hand, and government decisions to intervene to alter market dynamics by issuing CL, on the other hand.  They also review forms of government use other than CL that are available in the US, noting that some have never been used and all are constrained to use in narrow circumstances.  The authors examine the courts' assessments of the public interest, including the perceived public interest in IP protection. 

  • UN Commission Underlines Importance of Science, Tech, Innovation

    Following its twentieth meeting, in May 2017 in Geneva, the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (a subsidiary body of ECOSOC) has affirmed the critical contribution of science, technology and innovation to development and improvements in human welfare. The Commission called for increased investments in these areas, along with redoubled efforts to build scientific and technical capacity in developing countries. The members of the Commission underscored in particular the transformative impact of ICTs and the need to create enabling conditions for e-commerce. And they noted the importance of collaboration among different types of stakeholders - including firms - in ensuring that technological advancement contributes to sustainable development. Private sector investments in R&D and commercial channels for technology diffusion are critical to not only ensuring that technology solutions exist and can be deployed where needed, but also to building local absorptive capacity.