IP rights: WIPO shows trademark is used more than patents in developing countries
Much less is known about the role of IP protection, in particular rights other than patents, in the manufacturing industry more broadly.
The empirical literature on the use of IP in developing countries has focused largely on the impact of a strengthening of patent protection on North-South technology transfer and the link between patent protection and the availability and prices of pharmaceutical.
Much less is known about the role of IP protection, in particular rights other than patents, in the manufacturing industry more broadly. In this context, the use of trademarks is especially interesting as the available data has shown that they are much more widely used by firms in developing countries than patents.
WIPO used a new comprehensive dataset for Chile in a research paper called ‘Intellectual property use in middle income countries: the case of Chile’ that combines detailed firm-level information from the annual manufacturing census, information on firms’ innovative activities from Chile’s innovation surveys, and firms’ IP filings to analyze the use of IP by firms in Chile and its effect on outcomes, including growth and productivity.
The results show that Chilean firms rely much more on the use of trademarks than patents or industrial designs. Most patents are registered by foreign firms that apparently do not have any local presence in Chile. In contrast, the majority of trademarks are registered by Chilean firms, although only a relatively small share is registered by firms in the manufacturing industry.
Within manufacturing, we find that firms in chemicals (which includes pharmaceuticals) file the largest number of patents and trademarks among companies registered in Chile. Although Chile was still a middle-income economy during our sample period, the regression results that predict the use of IP and innovation mirror those of high-income countries to a great extent.
We also find that the use of IP and firm growth are positively correlated. This does not imply, however, that the use of IP increases firm growth. Moreover, because the growth in inputs mirrors the growth in output for IP-using firms, it is difficult to see an impact on (revenue) TFP from IP use.