This source information for this article and an introductory video is found at the WIPO press center. The English PDF of the report is found here. WIPO 2022 report on digitalization and green tech from entrepreurs to policy-making.
Kimura & Partners is a member of the JPAA, AIPPI and APAA. Takaaki Kimura represented the JPAA at WIPO harmonization meetings regarding PLT (Patent Law Treaty), SPLT (Substantive Patent Law Treaty), SCP (Standing Committee Of Patent Law) and PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty).
In this important report, the WIPO states that:
“The rapid global response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic shows how innovative activity can adapt quickly to shifting priorities and a similar effect is needed to urgently address climate change, according to WIPO’s World Intellectual Property Report, which probes the complex sets of decisions that direct the development of life-changing innovations.”
The report further finds that:
“Human innovation is inevitable, but its outcomes are not. The direction of innovation is the result of multiple actions by entrepreneurs, researchers, consumers and policy-makers, and society’s needs can change quickly as they did during the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic.”
Among the report’s key findings are the following:
- The report looked at patenting rates over the past century – a period marked by a number of major pulses in innovative activity – and found a 25-fold increase in overall growth, or about 3% each year. This growth was driven by a number of technologies:
- Innovation in the transport sector doubled in only 30 years to 1925, when it represented 28% of all patents, with a 21% annual growth rate in the period
- Medical innovation more than tripled in only 30 years up to 1960, when the area represented 7% of all patents, with a 5% annual growth rate in the period
- Computer and related innovation (ICTs) tripled in 35 years through 2000, when the sector represented 24% of all patents and an 8% annual growth rate in the period
- Digitalization is the new big innovation revolution: It is now transforming industries, by changing who innovates, and the types and process of innovation.
- Digital innovation quadrupled in the 20 years up to 2020, when it represented 12% of all patent applications, with a 13% annual growth rate
- New technologies can be leveraged to achieve economic development at a large scale. In East Asia, Japan, Republic of Korea and China have each leveraged their scientific capacity, technological capital and skilled labor to fully integrate into the global economy as core and active participants in IT global value chains:
- By 2020, Japan-based innovators held 25% of the world’s ICT-related patents, followed by Republic of Korea with 18% and China, at 14%
- Since the oil price shock in 1973, global innovation in low-carbon emission technologies has grown by 6% annually until 2012, but green innovation has stagnated since then.
As with all areas of innovation and progress, we can be simultaneously impressed and excited, yet impatient and dissatisfied.
The report makes these concluding summary comments on two key areas of focus.
- Regarding Digitalization.
- The nature of digital general-purpose technologies is that they are everywhere, spur innovation in complementary fields and can be applied across many sectors and industries. Previous general-purpose technologies, such as the steam engine, electricity, and information and communication technology (ICT) (see Chapter 1), are closely associated with the world’s first three industrial revolutions. The full integration of digital technologies into economic activities arguably marks a fourth such revolution – a fully data-driven economy.10
- Regarding Public Policy and Climate Change
- The process of innovation involves the interdependence or interaction of different stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem. In climate change, the interdependent behavior of a variety of actors influences the direction and pace of green technology innovation. These actors include start-ups specializing in environmental technologies, firms in the energy sector, government institutions, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and universities, as well as intergovernmental organizations, such as the UNFCCC.
The report’s conclusions and policy recommendations (Abridged) are as follows:
The case studies on the COVID-19 crisis, the climate change imperative and rise of digital general-purpose technologies have shown how the direction of innovation has changed and will continue to change. They also suggest how public policies can steer innovation in a direction that best responds to societies’ needs.
- In the case of COVID-19, governments helped reduce investment uncertainty and mitigate the risks associated with first discovering and then developing a vaccine.
- In climate change, government policies, standards, rules and regulations are helping direct companies and households toward greener technologies. Finally, in the case of digital technologies, governments invested in and built enabling technologies – and in the case of 5G are continuing to do so – that facilitated innovations and their adoption.
It is difficult to say whether similar progress would have been made without government support. There is no comparable counterfactual. But there are strong arguments in support of the positive impact of government action in the speed and direction of innovation. Moreover, governments are uniquely placed to preempt any potentially negative impacts of innovation, for example, on employment, and to create the right incentives and enabling environment to promote and harness its potential.
Lessons learned through these case studies point to several key policy messages:
• The direction of innovation matters, because resources to invest in innovation are scarce.
term direction of innovation, because long-term technological opportunities are unpredictable. However, through funding of basic science, governments play a crucial role in enabling scientific and technological breakthroughs that shape the future direction of innovation (even if in uncertain, unpredictable ways).
WIPO 2022 report on digitalization and green tech from entrepreurs to policy-making. This reports shines a light on essential innovation themes.