February 26, 2010

Chamber Study Highlights Maine’s Innovative Contributions

U.S. Chamber Releases Study on Importance of Intellectual Property in All 50


WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) today released a report highlighting Maine’s contributions to America’s innovation economy. This study is part of GIPC’s State Fact Sheets, which provide a look at the roles innovation and creativity play in each state. The report highlights local companies and facts demonstrating how innovation and creativity—which are safeguarded by strong IP rights—serve as a driving force behind economic recovery and future growth.

“Innovation and creativity are vital to Maine’s economy,” said Dr. Mark Esper, executive vice president of the Chamber’s GIPC. Since 1996, Maine has allocated over $370 million dollars to research and development, and will reach approximately $1 billion this year. Maine has also increased their number of businesses involved in the creation and distribution of copyrighted works to nearly 2,800, a 7.8% increase since 2007.

Esper noted examples of innovation and creativity in Maine. The software industry in Maine contributes nearly $13 million in local wages, and the state is ranked 13th in the nation for entrepreneurial activity. Additionally, Maine’s university research and development funding increased to $120 million in 2006, and ranks 3rd in the nation for nonprofit research.

“Indeed, Mainers are proven innovators,” said Esper. Howland-native Percy Spencer, created a device in which food is cooked through microwave radiation. The microwave oven is now a common household product with more than 200 million in use throughout the world. Additionally, Chester Greenwood, a Farmington native, created the earmuff, which was patented and sold to soldiers during World War I. “America has a unique story to tell, and Maine plays a large role in this story. Innovation and creativity are essential to economic growth and human advancement, and Maine’s IP contributions reflect this.”

The Maine State Fact Sheet is intended to be a resource for legislators, policymakers, and the public to identify successful companies, inventors, creative artists, and innovators to better understand the role they play in our economy and society. As part of an easy-to-use, interactive map, the State Fact Sheet project can be accessed online at www.theglobalipcenter.com, as well as in a printable format.

The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion intellectual property (IP) as vital to creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth, and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges.

The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

For more information, please contact Trinh Nguyen at 202-463-5379.

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