September 30, 2016

Follow the Jobs

As election season heats up in the coming weeks, Americans are going to hear a lot of talk about jobs and the economy. And while the candidates may share little agreement on the best ways to grow jobs, they should be able to support a key driver of American jobs: intellectual property (IP).

What does IP have to do with jobs? The answer for 45 million Americans is: everything.

A new Department of Commerce report reveals that IP supports 81 industries and 45 million jobs that are tied to use of patents, copyrights, or trademarks. That’s almost one in every three jobs in the workforce.

A 2015 U.S. Chamber study shows that IP jobs can be found in all 50 states. And both studies show that workers in IP-intensive industries are paid higher wages than their counterparts in non-IP-intensive industries; in many states that wage increase amounts to over 30%.

The numbers also show how IP works for America: IP-intensive industries contribute more than $6 trillion dollars to, or 38.2 percent of, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). And IP increases American exports: total merchandise exports of IP-intensive industries increased to $842 billion.

What does all this mean? It means that the protections enshrined in the U.S. Constitution are doing more than protect intellectual property – they are protecting one out of every three American jobs. It means that purchasing choices matter: from electronics to fashion goods to toys and health products, it’s worth going the extra mile to ensure you’re buying authentic goods. When downloading music, books, and software or streaming a favorite television show, consumers are choosing whether or not they will support thousands of creators, writers, producers and performers who depend on a strong and fair IP system.

It also means that voting choices matter. From California to the Carolinas, IP jobs are putting America to work. So as voters prepare to head to the polls this November, they should ask candidates: do you support IP jobs?

Laura Crist is the director of strategy and communications for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center.

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