Intellectual Property: The Engine of U.S. Economic Growth

Posted by Jason Albert
Associate General Counsel for IP Policy & Strategy, Microsoft

Today, Victoria Espinel, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, together with John Bryson, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and David Kappos, the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, released Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus. This report is notable for what it shows about the role IP plays in driving U.S. jobs and economic growth. A few facts stand out in particular:

· IP-intensive industries directly employ 27.1 million Americans, and indirectly contribute to another 12.9 million jobs. All told, 27.7 percent of all U.S. jobs are attributable to IP-intensive industries.

· IP-intensive industries account for $5.06 trillion in value added, representing 34.8 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010.

· Respondents in the computer industry indicated that patents were an effective means for securing competitive advantage from innovations over 40 percent of the time, a higher rate than in most other industries.

This study demonstrates that intellectual property is an enabler of innovation, resulting in the creation of businesses and jobs. And jobs in IP-intensive industries are high paying, with average weekly wages 42 percent higher than in other industries.

Of course, none of this would be possible without a strong and effective IP system in the U.S. Policymakers across the political spectrum have long recognized the importance of IP in driving jobs and economic growth, and today’s report provides strong confirmation of their approach.

Comments (2)

  1. mctouch says:

    Not too sure I agree with the statement "none of this would be possible without a strong and effective IP system",  Indeed with Software Patents, the weakness of the USPTO system is its strength, for the United States anyway. The 'rubber stamp grant' and 'fight it out in the courts later' approach vs big up front examination of filings makes the US Patent far cheaper than you can get at any other Patent Office. Slowly but surely the USPTO will not have to worry about doing any more work ,what with the general trend to First Filed vs Prior Art. In fact with the advent of the App Stores, Google, Apple and Microsoft will be Judge Jury and Executioner making decisions on who breached who's IP by holding them back from the Marketplace. Take a look at the Apple AppStore model, although the EU is not bound by software patents, the EU developer hosting on the Apple AppStore is bound regardless to US Law by way of the signed agreement. Hence Apple is the New USPTO.

    If Tim Berners-lee feels guilty about making a mistake with the http protocol forcing everyone to type the additional // in a http request how much more guilty should the USPTO feel in granting a patent to Amazon for a One Click purchase forcing billions of online consumers to click twice.

    The irony is that if I was in California on a 104 degree day and I wiped my brow then uttered the words "Its Hot" on camera, I've breached Paris Hiltons trademark and Apples Gesture based business method patent.

    Hardware is another thing….

    So is China's disregard for it all….

    With stronger Patent Examination comes a weaker US patent portfolio.

  2. patent litigation says:

    Certainly, you can't deny — although some in the anti-patent crowd still do — that the potential for profit serves, and will always serve, as a major incentive for innovation. The patent industry is now such a significant engine of U.S. economic growth that it's about as American as apple pie.

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