June 2, 2010

Chamber Study Highlights Rhode Island’s Innovative Contributions

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


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) today released a report highlighting Rhode Island’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 Rhode Island’s economy,” said Dr. Mark Esper, executive vice president of the Chamber’s GIPC. In 2004, nearly $1.5 billion was spent on research and development by the federal government, universities, and companies in Rhode Island. The software industry employs nearly 1,000 people in Rhode Island, paying nearly $141 million in wages, and in 2005, Rhode Island employed 18,917 high-tech workers, who earned an average annual wage of nearly $70,000.

Esper noted examples of innovation and creativity in Rhode Island, where innovators received 380 patents in 2007. Additionally, the number of businesses in Rhode Island involved in the creation, distribution or performance of certain copyrighted works, such as theaters, museums and studios grew to nearly 2,400 in 2008 – an increase of almost 11 percent over 2007.

“Indeed, Rhode Islanders are proven innovators,” said Esper. Stephen Wilcox, Jr, a Westerly, Rhode Island native, helped create the water-tube boiler that allowed for a safer and more efficient production of steam. Wilcox’s invention, which was patented in 1867, was perfect for advanced power plants and naval vessels. In 1818, Samuel Slater, acknowledged as the Father of the American Industrial Revolution, built the first water powered textile mill in the United States. “America has a unique story to tell, and Rhode Island plays a large role in this story. Innovation and creativity are essential to economic growth and human advancement, and Rhode Island’s IP contributions reflect this.”

The Rhode Island 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.

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