Global trade

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) protection is key to developing knowledge-based industries and technology transfer. ICC works with intergovernmental organisations involved in IP policy-making to inform policymakers and provide the voice of business in these discussions.

Why is Intellectual property important? 

Intellectual property (IP) is a fast-evolving area of law which is embedded in innovation and creativity with broad implications beyond the legal community. Business as a driver of intellectual property, has an important role to play in helping governments understand the positive spillover effects for society at large. 

As an advocate for international business, ICC works to identify key Intellectual property (IP) issues facing the international business community and is the business voice in debates and forums involved in Intellectual property (IP) policy-making, including the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as other international organisations. 

ICC also plays an active role in raising awareness about the crossroads between intellectual property and other areas. These include the digital environment and the Internet, the environment, health, development and competition policy, as well as how to combat counterfeiting and piracy by highlighting the adverse economic and social impacts among governments and consumers around the world. 

How does ICC encourage and nurture innovation ecosystems? 

Innovation is a key driver of economic growth and solutions to global challenges as set out in the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Innovation is mentioned specifically in Goal 9 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).   

The ICC Innovation Principles, set forth below, support a policy environment that encourages investments in new technology solutions, which along with new business models and appropriate interventions, can assist policymakers in creating frameworks that enable the emergence of productive, resilient and sustainable innovation ecosystems. 

ICC Innovation Principles

  1. Build investor confidence in a trustworthy business environment. 
    1. Shared understanding between governments, research institutions and business through an open dialogue that welcomes inputs from all stakeholders sustain innovation. 
    2. Nurture innovation through a stable enabling environment with predictable, transparent and robust legal and regulatory regimes, and policies that foster risk-taking by taking into account incentives to invest, cost of risk capital, diversity of business models and funding sources, and investor requirements for an adequate return on investment.   
    3. Establish a stable macroeconomic framework with good public governance, rule of law, enforceable property rights, predictable liability rules, functioning financial system, transparent and predictable tax system, an adequate secondary and higher education system, and appropriate digital and physical infrastructure. 
    4. Define sector-specific regulations that enable the proliferation of innovative technologies through national strategies and updated policy frameworks that support innovators and allow society to benefit from new technologies. 
    5. Government facilitated access, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which are crucial drivers of innovation and make up a significant portion of the private sector, to finance and capacity building on critical issues such as cybersecurity, export readiness, and Intellectual property (IP) management and commercialisation.  
  2. Promote education and training for a robust innovation ecosystem. 
    1. Collaboration between the public and private sectors in fulfilling their shared responsibility and interest to develop relevant skills, technological and professional expertise in the workforce for innovation to flourish. 
    2. Long-term commitment from governments to invest in educational infrastructure through specialised training, and support of academic and research institutes that create innovation clusters where unique local capabilities are explored to foster knowledge spill over necessary to attract investment in innovation.  
    3. Gender-balanced, diverse, and inclusive workforce that can activate interest and provide inspiration for the youth to become the business leaders and innovators of tomorrow.  
    4. Allocation of government resources to support public-private research programmes aimed at basic research, frontier technologies and addressing critical challenges. 
  3. Encourage open trade and investment. 
    1. Innovation transcends borders.  Secure channels for ideas and technology through open markets and fair competition where countries foster coordination and coherence by working towards an open trade policy help ensure that arbitrary restrictions and disruptions are avoided. 
    2. Establish market interventions that involve the private sector and take into account dynamic efficiencies to persuade the most successful risk takers and innovators. 
    3. Assure non-discriminatory national trade and competition laws, and procurement policies which precludes protectionist privileges or extraordinary rights to local actors and products. 
    4. Conformity to agreed international norms that take into account global competition to attract investment capital in domestic markets that could pave the way for best commercial choices and cost-effective deployment technology solutions locally. 
  4. Ensure intellectual property systems incentivise both innovation and dissemination. 
    1. Build trustworthy innovation environment with stable intellectual property rights system that can support technological partnerships with the right legal framework for collaborative innovation and exchange of technology and knowledge.  
    2. Access to effective, enforceable, predictable intellectual property rights reward and incentives for innovators and creators to undertake risks to scale and commercialize innovative ideas.   
    3. Stimulate knowledge exchange and technology transfer through collaboration as a means to bridge knowledge gaps and engender a trustworthy environment that provides effective protection for confidential information and intellectual property rights. That trust is critical for ensuring that the fruits of research are disseminated by being applied, commercialised, adapted to local circumstances, scaled and advanced. 
    4. Intellectual property (IP) regimes that support improving efficiency and delivering the most impactful products and services by generating meaningful insights to inform decision-making and drive innovation while protecting commercial intellectual property rights.  

What is the role of genetic resources in innovation? 

With increasing global recognition of the importance of biological diversity, access to genetic resources and the sharing of benefits that arise from their utilisation in R&D activities – access and benefits sharing (ABS) – has become the subject of much discussion. These discussions led to the conclusion of the Nagoya Protocol—adopted in 2014 under the umbrella of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)—and continue in many other forums including the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

Business has played an active role in ABS discussions through ICC, including in the CBD and WIPO concerning the use and protection of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.