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Caesar Rivise 2014 Top Ten Best Countries for Foreign Patent Filing

Posted on Apr 24, 2014 in Blog

In the knowledge economy – where just about everything else is fungible – how and where you protect your intellectual property (IP) can mean everything. Selecting where to apply for patents, for instance, is a strategic call that will impact your company for the next 20 years. Making smart choices requires more than a hard look at the dynamics of your market. You need to consider the structure and performance of economies and legal systems around the world.

Fortunately, much of the spade work for such analyses has already been done. For example, The World Bank’s Doing Business Project provides an annual rating based on feedback from corporations of how easy it is to do business in each country.[1] This data can be compared to indexes of legal systems, such as the WJP Rule of Law Index® 2014.[2]

At Caesar Rivise, we use proprietary algorithms to combine financial and legal statistics into risk-adjusted rankings of the economic opportunity presented by filing for IP registrations in each country. We tailor these analyses for each client. That is because the bang-for-the-buck you can get for a particular patent filing in a given country depends on many factors, particularly the nature of the product. Commodity materials, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics, and luxury products each require separate analysis. Balancing of such disparate effects as taxes, court treatment of intellectual property, ease of enforcing contracts, and number of residents with high disposable incomes is not always easy. But it can be worth a lot to know what you are getting into, on average, in each country.

Consider some of the surprises that come from getting into the details of the top economies. Here are the Caesar Rivise general ratings for 2014 based on a composite of GDP and ease of doing business.

CR Patent Foreign Filing ROI Rank Country GDP rank
1 China 2
2 Japan 3
3 Germany 4
4 France 5
5 United Kingdom 6
6 Canada 11
7 Australia 13
8 South Korea 15
9 Spain 12
10 Brazil 7

As you might expect, the top five slots got to the biggest economies following the U.S. However, some of the biggest economies do not make our list because of the difficulty that companies have reported in either repatriating profits or enforcing their patents or license agreements in those jurisdictions. Otherwise you would see powerhouses like Italy and India on the list.

Also missing are some of the best legal systems, like the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden). Despite their reputations for fair dealing and high per-capita incomes, their economies just are not big enough to make them a better bet in the long run over exploding economies like China and Brazil.

Your mileage may vary. But consider playing the averages to find the safest bets.

[1] See http://www.doingbusiness.org/rankings

[2] See http://www.worldjusticeproject.org/rule-of-law-index

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