John van der Luit-Drummond

The fourth Global IP Index (GIPI4) was launched in London last week by international law firm Taylor Wessing and saw Germany retain its ranking as the top jurisdiction in the patent index. The GIPI is a global analysis based on the views of senior industry figures, along with an array of published empirical data, which provides an assessment of the best and worst of 36 key jurisdictions in which to obtain, exploit, enforce and attack various types of intellectual property.

European countries dominate the top 10 in the GIPI4 patent index. Germany remained on top overall because it is regarded as particularly strong for both enforcement and the cost effectiveness of enforcement. However, Taylor Wessing found that even in the current economic climate, cost is no longer the determinative reason given by respondents in their scoring – it was cited markedly less often than in GIPI3.

The courts’ expertise in handling patent matters was regarded as a crucial criterion in the high-scoring European jurisdictions; cost effectiveness of proceedings, consistency of judicial decision making and adherence to international standards of patentability and enforcement were also all cited. Respondents did, however, express mixed views on the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court, with some fearing that the proposed reforms will not make litigation more affordable, further harmonise substantive patent law or reduce forum shopping.

Following publication of GIPI3, IAM reported on the link between the cost effectiveness of certain jurisdictions and where they sit in the overall patent ranking. We said that while price may be an important issue for patent owners, it cannot be the deciding factor in determining when and where they should obtain and enforce their rights, as there are some jurisdictions which patent owners just cannot afford to ignore. A prime example of this is the United States, which once again scored badly, being ranked 25th for cost effectiveness this time round. One GIPI4 respondent stated: “The burden of cost is too high, even if a case is won.”

While the United States dropped down from fourth to 11th place overall in the patent index, it remains the dominant jurisdiction in worldwide patent litigation and transactions. Taylor Wessing suggests that disruption caused by the implementation of the America Invents Act may have played a part in the fall, as parties acclimatise to the reforms. Other respondents focused on the uncertainty caused by recent decisions of the US courts such as CLS Bank v Alice Corp, which some have criticised as having increased confusion on the patentability of computer software and business methods, rather than dispelling it.

The Patent Index

Jurisdiction        Rank      Rating

Germany             1              680

UK                        2              673

Netherlands       3              669

Sweden               4              665

Switzerland         5              662

Austria                 6              658

Australia              7              655

France                  8              655

New Zealand      9              654

Singapore            10           654