September 1, 2009

Chamber Study Highlights Oklahoma’s Innovative Contributions

WASHINGTON, DC-The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) today released a report highlighting Oklahoma’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 is vital to Oklahoma’s economy, and is responsible for nearly nine percent of the state’s overall workforce,” said Dr. Mark Esper, executive vice president of the Chamber’s GIPC. Esper said that in 2005, businesses and universities spent more than $700 million on research and development in Oklahoma. That next year, Oklahoma employed almost 130,000 hi-tech workers. “The Oklahoma economy depends on the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurism,” added Esper.

Esper noted examples of innovation and creativity in Oklahoma. Film production in Oklahoma contributed $154 million in local wages in 2007, and in 2008, the number of Sooner businesses that were involved with copyrighted works grew to almost 4,700 – an increase of 9 percent from the previous year. The home of some of the nation’s premier energy companies, Oklahoma boasts ONEOK, Williams, and OGE Energy Corporation, three companies built on innovation and important contributors to the local economy.

“Indeed, Oklahomans are proven innovators,” said Esper. “The first modern-day shopping cart was invented by Sylvan Goldman in 1937, and unveiled in an Oklahoma City grocery store. Parking meters were also invented in Oklahoma, giving birth to the Magee-Hale Park- O- Meter Company in 1935. And Norman, Oklahoma born Karl Guthe Jansky was a notable physicist and radio engineer who learned how to detect radio waves from the Milky Way galaxy. America has a unique story to tell, and Oklahoma plays a large role in this story. Innovation and creativity are essential to economic growth and human advancement, and Oklahoma’s IP contributions reflect this.”

The Oklahoma 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, 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.

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