Intellectual property tracks growing innovations in healthcare


The latest Global Innovation Index (GII) indicates that while the global economy is losing some momentum, and investment and productivity growth are slow, innovations in the medical field are on the rise, based on patenting data from the sector.

The 2019 GII Index, published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) measures the innovation capabilities and results of 129 countries, based on 80 indicators including the use of intellectual property such as patents, trademarks and industrial design protection. 

According to WIPO, the report shows that “Medical innovation is thriving…. [M]edical technology is now one of the top five fastest growing technology fields (the four others are IT-related). Patenting rates are also high in fields such as pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.”  

Medical innovation is strong in traditional medical technology and pharmaceutical areas and is growing in particular with respect to medical devices, IT and software applications, such as heart valves, digital health technologies and 3D printing devices.

And while most R&D-intensive health firms remain concentrated in Europe and the USA, the report shows that “larger emerging economies, like China and India, and smaller ones, like Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and Viet Nam, are progressively making their mark on the global health landscape.”

The GII’s overall rankings found that Switzerland, Sweden, the US, Netherlands and UK are the top 5 innovation leaders, but highlighted countries like China, Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam which are on the rise in their areas.   

WIPO’s analysis of the trends in medical research in particular?  “There is a lot of optimism about upcoming health innovations, and their possible impact, which is impressive. Innovations at many different levels are making it possible for more and more people to enjoy better healthcare and improved health.”

You can see the full 2019 GII Index report and rankings here, and further analysis and comment from WIPO here.