The Value of IP to the U.S. Economy

Protection of intellectual property (IP) is essential to innovation, investment, U.S. competitiveness and entrepreneurship. SBE Council continues to remind policy makers and elected officials about this reality, as well as the importance of IP to America's small businesses. IP protection must remain a top priority for our government, and a new report released on April 11 shows why this is important.

The U.S. Commerce Department released the new study, which finds that millions of American jobs are tied to the robust use of IP. The new report -- "Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus" -- examines 75 IP-intensive industries that together directly and indirectly employed 40 million workers with average weekly wages that are 42% higher than those of non-IP-intensive industries. IP-intensive industries accounted for $5.0 trillion in value added, representing 35.5% of U.S. gross domestic product in 2009. Additionally, in 2010, merchandise exports of IP-intensive industries totaled $775 billion, equating to 60.7% of total U.S. merchandise exports.

“If we’re going to continue to be the most innovative economy on Earth, we must ensure that American IP-intensive industries remain confident that their copyrights, patents, and trademarks will be enforced,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Tom Donohue at an event where the report was unveiled. “The Commerce Department’s new study demonstrates that 40 million jobs also hinge on the proper and adequate enforcement of IP rights, which are frequently threatened by criminal organizations overseas. It’s a challenge we must tackle together.”

Particularly for small firms that lack the resources to fight or track IP theft, the government's role in combating such theft is critical. The U.S. government can also play a lead role in helping to build a cultural respect for IP around the world. After all, global theft of American IP destroys jobs and hurts U.S. investment and economic growth, which in the end hurts global economic growth and prosperity as well.

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO