Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy

April 11, 2012
Categories: Intellectual Property


At an event earlier today at the White House, the Department of Commerce released its new “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus” Report. The report is an analysis of 75 industries identified as “IP intensive” (from among 313 total), and serves as an important reminder about how heavily the U.S. economy relies on some form of intellectual property. The full report can be found here, and below are the study’s principal findings.

IP Intensive Industries
Principal Findings

  • IP-intensive industries accounted for 27.1 million American jobs, or 18.8 percent of all employment in the economy in 2010. A substantial share of IP-intensive employment in the U.S. is in the 60 trademark-intensive industries, with 22.6 million jobs in 2010. The 26 patent- intensive industries accounted for 3.9 million jobs in 2010, while the 13 copyright-intensive industries provided 5.1 million jobs in that year.
  • IP-intensive industries accounted for $5.0 trillion in value added, or 35.5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), in 2009.
  • While the IP-intensive industries directly employ 27.1 million workers either on their payrolls or under employment contracts, these sectors also indirectly support 12.9 million more jobs throughout the economy. In other words, every two jobs in IP-intensive industries support an additional one job elsewhere in the economy. And so in total, 40.0 million jobs, or 27.7 percent of all jobs, are directly or indirectly attributable to the most IP-intensive industries.
  • Jobs in IP-intensive industries pay well compared to other jobs. Average weekly wages in 2010 for IP-intensive industries were $1,156 or 42 percent higher than the $815 average weekly wages across other (non-IP-intensive) private industries. This wage premium nearly doubled from 22 percent in 1990 to 38 percent in 2000 and increased further to 42 percent by 2010. Patent- and copyright-intensive industries saw particularly fast wage growth in the last five years, with the wage premium in patent-intensive industries increasing from 66 percent in 2005 to 73 percent in 2010 and the premium in copyright-intensive industries rising from 65 percent to 77 percent.

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