Dueling Studies On World IP Day

A new report released Monday from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center argues that intellectual property “intenseive” industries contribute heavily to the U.S economy, making up about 60 percent of total U.S. exports in recent years.

The study, which covers 2000-2007, notes that IP-intensive industries create jobs at all skill levels, pay higher salaries, and invest in more research and development than other industries. For example, the study found that the average salary of employees in IP-intensive industries was about 60 percent higher when compared with workers in other industries, $59,041 compared with $37,202 for non-IP intensive industries.

Among the industries listed as “IP intensive” include those involved in coal and petroleum, chemicals, transportation and medical equipment makers, computer and electronic products and information software. Non-IP-intensive industries include those that make food and beverages, electrical equipment and appliances, wood products, furniture, and paper and plastics.

The study was released on World Intellectual Property Day and comes as IP groups are pushing trade officials to conclude work on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which is aimed at trying to curb IP piracy and counterfeiting, and as the White House’s new IP enforcement coordinator works on a national strategy for bolstering IP protection.

“A strong intellectual property rights system is necessary to provide these IP-intensive industries the proper incentives and protection they need to innovate, which in turn creates jobs and economic growth,” Global Intellecutal Property Center Executive Vice President, Mark Esper, said in a statement.

Groups that say policymakers need to balance the rights of users when aiming to improve IP protection argue that some of the claims about the impact of IP piracy are overblown. They point to a study released this month from the Government Accountability Office that found that it is difficult to quantify potential losses from IP theft and counterfeiting. “Generally, the illicit nature of counterfeiting and piracy makes estimating the economic impact of IP infringements extremely difficult, so assumptions must be used to offset the lack of data,” the study said.

At the same time, the Computer and Communications Industry Association plans to release its own study Tuesday that the group says will show that fair use of IP also produces economic benefits. The study found that “industries relying on fair use and other exceptions to copyright make up one-sixth of the U.S. economy and employ one of every eight workers,” according to a CCIA statement Monday

“Fair use is critical to the innovation economy. Much of the unprecedented growth of the tech and communications industry can be credited to the fair use doctrine,” CCIA President Ed Black said in the statement. He argues that ACTA could harm some U.S. industries if it goes too far in protecting IP interests. “A better understanding of the costs of overzealous copyright enforcement should help policymakers make sure new rules, legislation and agreements protect rights holders as well as innovation,” he added.

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