Developed countries invest the most in Research and Development. However, it is suitably protecting this research and development which makes it possible to generate dividends.
Although the Industrial Revolution, which began in England in the 18th century, led to a significant transformation into a work-based economy, today we can talk about the knowledge revolution.
The most valuable asset is the capacity of individuals to resolve technical and social problems through technology. These creations are known as intellectual assets.
It is estimated that in the 1980s the value of intangible assets accounted for 17% of the book value of companies. This percentage is nowadays over 70%.
This situation is reflected in the most developed countries which lead the ranking of R&D investment. However, suitable protection of this knowledge will make it possible for the people or countries which develop it to generate dividends, so as to obtain incentives to continue researching.
A protected invention can be sold or licensed, generating wealth and well-being for the people, companies or countries involved. A large part of the GDP of the most developed countries comes from income arising from intellectual property. For example, the United States pays Europe €2.8 billion each year for patent royalties, while Europe must pay the United States €14 billion annually for the same reason. In other words, the United States receives five times more than what it pays for patent royalties.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), intellectual property is an essential mechanism for the development of humanity and a way to achieve balance and stability between developed and developing countries.
It also represents a means to widen the possibilities arising from new technologies, essentially information and communication technologies.
In this regard, some member countries consider that the acquisition of foreign technologies through technology transfer is essential for the economic and social development of developing countries.
However, this process can not only take place in one direction. In order to take advantage of, and adapt, technology with the aim of boosting national competitiveness, countries must compliment technology transfer with their own effort.