U.S. Commerce Department Releases Updated Report Showing Intellectual Property-Intensive Industries Contribute $6.6 Trillion and 45.5 Million Jobs to U.S. Economy

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The U.S. Commerce Department recently released a comprehensive report, entitled “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: 2016 Update” (the “Report”). The Report, which was co-authored by the Economics & Statistics Administration and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, builds upon an earlier 2012 report, finding that “IP-intensive industries continue to be a major, integral and growing part of the U.S. economy.” The Report provides a wealth of quantitative information and analysis on the value of trademarks, copyrights, and patents to the U.S. economy. Key findings include:

In terms of jobs, trademark-intensive industries dominated, contributing 23.7 million jobs to the U.S. economy in 2014. Copyright-intensive industries contributed 5.6 million jobs, followed by patent-intensive industries with 3.9 million jobs in 2014. This represents an increase from 22.6, 5.6, and 3.8 million in 2010, respectively.

IP-intensive industries supported a total of 45.5 million jobs (27.9 million jobs directly and 17.6 million more jobs through the supply chain), which is about 30% of all employment in the U.S. These jobs are high-paying -- IP-intensive workers earn an average weekly wage of $1,312, which is 46% higher than workers in non-IP-intensive industries.

In terms of gross domestic product (GDP), the value added by IP-intensive industries increased substantially between 2010 and 2014. IP-intensive industries contributed $6.6 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2014, up from $5.1 trillion in 2010, an increase of 29.4%. The share of total U.S. GDP attributable to IP-intensive industries also increased to 38.2% in 2014, up from 34.8% in 2010.

We note with interest that increases in trademark and patent filings, while strong, lagged GDP growth for IP-intensive industries. For example, trademark application filings increased only about 21% (281,826 in 2010 to 341,902 in 2014) and utility patent application filings increased only about 18% (490,226 in 2010 to 578,802 in 2014). This suggests that, while post-2008 financial crisis corporate belt-tightening practices may linger, IP-intensive industries may be deriving increasing value from their continued IP investments.

In terms of foreign trade, IP-intensive industries accounted for $842 billion in merchandise exports in 2014, up from $775 billion in 2010. At this level, IP-intensive industries accounted for more than half (52%) of total U.S. merchandise exports.

Thus, the Report quantifies the substantial and growing role of trademarks, copyrights, and patents in providing quality employment, adding value, and fueling foreign trade for the U.S. economy.

Maximizing the protection and value of intellectual property assets is often the cornerstone of a business's success and even survival. In this blog, Nutter's Intellectual Property attorneys provide news updates and practical tips in patent portfolio development, IP litigation, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and licensing.

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