While Argentina’s economy hit a low point in 2002, the country has rebounded with growth in each year since. Argentina even made a strong comeback after the 2008 global recession. Geographically situated between two regional innovation leaders, Chile and Brazil, Argentina is making an effort to capitalize on its well-educated population and prominent standing on the global stage. How does its IP fare as Argentina continues to make high-tech exports a larger part of its economy?
Much like the country’s economy, Argentina has experienced chaotic activity in its IP. Patent applications hit high points in 1996, 2000, 2006, and 2009, and declined in the intervening years. But the ups and downs of patent applications should also be rationalized with the fact that they are relatively high to begin with, seeming always to hover at or near the 30th world rank for resident applications.
The strongest patent sectors in Argentina are Medical Technology and Pharmaceuticals, which combine for roughly 19% of all patent applications. This is partially due to efforts by the government to restore the economy after the crisis that occurred in 2001-2002. The country’s first science and technology minister, Lino Barano was given a large budget to invest in biotechnology startups like Delta Biotech [video news report].
The International Property Rights Index lists Argentina relatively low across the board, considering the country’s wealth and G20 stature: it has a rank of 87 for IPRI score. The good news is that, according the the IPRI report, “After three years of consistent scores, Argentina experienced improvement in all components and almost every sub-component.” This includes the most important component for our purposes, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). In 2011, IPR was the highest in Argentina since the IPRI was started five years ago.
Optimistically, Argentina will experience long-lasting growth in the coming years. With a government that recognizes the importance of the innovation economy, IP ought to continue its improvement in quality. Perhaps then, patenting will begin to correlate upwards in activity for a sustained period for the first time in decades.
For more Developing IP Economies posts, check out our International section.