October 29, 2009

U.S. Chamber Study Highlights Kentucky’s Innovative Contributions

WASHINGTON, DC-The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) today released a report highlighting Kentucky’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 Kentucky’s economy,” said Dr. Mark Esper, executive vice president of the Chamber’s GIPC. Esper noted that in 2008, there were nearly 5,600 Kentucky businesses that relied on copyright distribution, marking an 11.7 percent increase over 2007. “The Kentucky economy depends on the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurism,” added Esper.

Esper noted examples of innovation and creativity in Kentucky. Film production contributed to $142 million in local wages in 2007, and the software industry currently contributes to $25 million in wages. Louisville, Kentucky is home to a small woodworking shop that, since its 1884 inception, has made over 100 million Louisville Slugger baseball bats, used by over 60% of major leaguers today.

“Indeed, Kentuckians are proven innovators,” said Esper. “In 1930, Harland Sanders first sold his fried chicken at a gas station in North Corbin, Kentucky. He earned the title of Kentucky Colonel in recognition of his contribution to the state’s cuisine, after which he devised his unique ‘Original Recipe.’ The recipe’s success led to the opening of the first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in 1952. It didn’t take long for the franchise to expand and today it is one of America’s most recognizable fast food brands. America has a unique story to tell, and Kentucky plays a large role in this story. Innovation and creativity are essential to economic growth and human advancement, and Kentucky’s IP contributions reflect this.”

The Kentucky 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.

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

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