Innovation activities, directly and indirectly, contribute to economic growth and especially have played a central role in the growth of successful developing countries. Innovation can lead to higher productivity, indeed more products and services are generated, so the economy grows.
There are some International and regional organizations, using different index methodologies, to determine the innovation level of countries around the world and rank countries based on an innovative environment. Various factors are effective in innovation productivity including R&D intensity, human resources, size and external knowledge integration, market and basic research and cooperation, and technological outputs such as intellectual property.
The Global Innovation Index (GII) is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success in, innovation. The GII is a leading reference for measuring an economy’s innovation performance. It is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD (a graduate business school with locations in Europe), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in partnership with other organizations and institutions. The GII is based on both subjective and objective data derived from several sources, such as the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. More than 80 indicators are used in GII to explore a broad vision of innovation, including political environment, education, and infrastructure, and business sophistication.
The GII relies on two sub-indices (the Innovation Input Sub-Index and the Innovation Output Sub-Index) each built around pillars. Three measures are calculated: the innovation input sub-index involves five pillars: 1) institutions, 2) human capital and research, 3) infrastructure, 4) market sophistication, and 5) business sophistication. The output sub-index involves two pillars: knowledge and technology outputs, and creative outputs.
The GII 2020 with a theme of “Who Will Finance Innovation?” considers how the state of innovation finance is changing rapidly.
The result of GII indicates that Switzerland, Sweden, and the United States of America orderly ranked as the three topmost innovative countries followed by the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the Netherlands.
Moreover, the GII 2020 shows that the geography of innovation continues is to shift; Over the years, India, China, the Philippines, and VietNam are the economies with the most significant progress in their GII innovation ranking over time. All four are now in the top 50.
Iran, as one of the developing countries that are eager on economic growth and industrialization, understands the importance of innovation and has moved forward in recent years. In the GII 2020, Iran ranked 67 among 131 countries with a score of 30.89 out of 100. Iran has been ranked second among 10 countries in the Central and South Asian region following India. Iran is also ranked 19th among 37 middle- and upper-income countries.
It might be interesting to know that the top 100 clusters are located in 26 countries, six of which including Brazil, China, India, Iran, Turkey, and Russia represent middle-income economies. Iran ranked 43rd among 100 most vibrant clusters of science and technology (S&T) worldwide for the third consecutive year. Moreover, in tertiary education, Iran’s rank is 7th while it was 2nd in the GII 2019.
The significant point in the GII 2020 report about Iran is Iran's persistence in the path of science production. The fact that the situation of the country has improved in the indicators related to scientific publications, higher education, registration of intellectual property, and industrial production at the international level.
Human Capital and Research
In the human capital and research pillar, Iran ranked 46th while in the graduate science and engineering section f this pillar, Iran It has maintained its position in the 3rd. place in the world.
In whole, in the education, and research development sections in this pillar, some significant progress in the ranking has been achieved. For instance, in the research and development, Iran‘s 59th rank in the last year (2019) has been upgraded to 48th in the GII 2020.
Iran has a young, motivated, and educated population, which has led the country to have a wonderful situation in the human capital and science production and the potential of the country to develop technology and innovation to upgrade its current situation. However, achieving this aim needs upgrading other infrastructures as well.
Knowledge & Technology output
Although Iran’s ranking in Knowledge & Technology output pillar decreased compared to GII 2019, however, in the GII 20, Iran’s rank is 59th while in last year GII was 46th, however, in the knowledge creation section concerning this pillar, some significant progress is observed. The knowledge creation of Iran has been ranked 25th among 131 countries while it was 32nd in the GII 2019. For instance, In the above-mentioned section, the number of scientific publications and articles in terms of per capita GPD, ranked 21th, while it was 27th last year. Moreover, in the knowledge impact and diffusion section, some small progress is observed.
In the Science and technology cluster, Tehran with a three-ranked increase over 2019, has been ranked 43rd in the list of top 100 cluster ranking and surpassing Berlin, Zurich, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Rome, Istanbul, Austin, and other big main cities of the world.
Appropriate Domestic Market for Innovation and Technology
Regarding the "domestic market size" indicator in the market sophistication pillar, Iran has an appropriate ranking, while the country is ranked 18th and is placed among the moderate and high-income economies. This could show the availability of the large domestic market for technology and innovation. And implies the very high potential capacity of the country's domestic demand for innovative production.
Iran's Excellent Position in Registering National IP Assets
One of the most important strengths of Iran in GII 2020 is indicators relating to Intellectual property. Iran’s ranking in intangible assets is 13th which is considerable and could imply the importance of IP assets in Iranian society. Iran is ranked 1st in “the number of applications in terms of national trademark registration among 131 countries.
Regarding patent and industrial design registration, Iran has an excellent position worldwide where the number of the patent application (in term of per capita GPD) registered in the national IP office ranked 14th and the number of industrial design application (in term of per capita GPD) registered in national IP office ranked 14th as well.
Iran is ranked 1st in “the number of applications in terms of national trademark registration among 131 countries.
Although Iran joining the Patent Corporation Treaty (PCT) occurred lately (2013), however, Iran’s ranking in the PCT patent registration (in terms of per capita GPD) is considerable. Iran ranks in the GII 2020 report is 55th while in the last year, the ranking was 64th. Tehran as one of the top 100 cluster rankings (Table S-11), has 147 PCT applications.
According to the Statistical Profile of Iran at WIPO, only in the year of 2019, 254 international applications were filed via WIPO Administered Treaties: 229 of them, were registered as a patent application via the PCT system; 24 trademark applications through the Madrid system, and 1 industrial application using the Hague system. Moreover, 372 patent application has been filed abroad between the years of 2009-2018.
Kanoon IP, alongside becoming the main active entity in promoting Intellectual Property inside the country, has nominated as the most active body in supporting inventors/innovators overseas protecting their inventions. To date, Kanoon IP has supported the drafting, filing, and prosecuting of more than 370 patent applications outside the country.