On April 15 the U.S. Commerce Department released a report, entitled “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus,” which finds that intellectual property (IP)-intensive industries support at least 40 million jobs and contribute more than $5 trillion dollars to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) – – that’s 38.4% of the GDP.
Commerce Secretary John Bryson said: “This first of its kind report shows that IP-intensive industries have a direct and significant impact on our nation’s economy and the creation of American jobs, . . . When Americans know that their ideas will be protected, they have greater incentive to pursue advances and technologies that help keep us competitive, and our businesses have the confidence they need to hire more workers.”
The report identifies 75 industries that use patent, copyright, or trademark protections most extensively. These “IP-intensive industries” are the source – directly or indirectly – of 40 million jobs – – more than a quarter of all the jobs in this country. The most IP-intensive industries include: Computer and peripheral equipment, audio and video equipment manufacturing, newspaper and book publishers, Pharmaceutical and medicines, Semiconductor and other electronic components, and Medical equipment.
The report shows that wages for jobs in IP-intensive industries are higher than average and continue to increase.
The report’s findings include:
- IP-intensive industries contributed $5.06 trillion to the U.S. economy or 34.8 percent of GDP in 2010.
- 40 million jobs, or 27.7 percent of all jobs, were directly or indirectly attributable to the most IP-intensive industries in 2010.
- Between 2010 and 2011, there was a 1.6 percent increase in direct employment in IP-intensive industries.
- Merchandise exports of IP-intensive industries totaled $775 billion in 2010, accounting for 60.7 percent of total U.S. merchandise exports.
“Every job in some way, produces, supplies, consumes, or relies on innovation, creativity, and commercial distinctiveness,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director David Kappos. “America needs to continue investing in a high quality and appropriately balanced intellectual property system that will promote innovative, open, and competitive markets while helping to ensure that the U.S. private sector remains America’s innovation engine.”
Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are the principal means for establishing ownership rights to inventions and ideas, and provide a legal foundation by which intangible ideas and creations generate tangible benefits to businesses and employees. IP protection affects commerce throughout the economy, including by: providing incentives to invent and create; protecting innovators from unauthorized copying; facilitating specialization in technology markets; creating a platform for financial investments in innovation; supporting startup liquidity and growth through mergers, acquisitions, and IPOs; making licensing-based technology business models possible; and, enabling a more efficient market for technology transfer and trading in technology and ideas.