December 28, 2009

Why Are Intellectual Property Rights Important?

Intellectual property (IP) contributes enormously to our national and state economies. Dozens of industries across our economy rely on the adequate enforcement of their patents, trademarks, and copyrights, while consumers use IP to ensure they are purchasing safe, guaranteed products. We believe IP rights are worth protecting, both domestically and abroad. This is why:

Intellectual Property Creates and Supports High-Paying Jobs

  • IP-intensive industries employ over 55 million Americans, and hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
  • Jobs in IP-intensive industries are expected to grow faster over the next decade than the national average.
  • The average worker in an IP-intensive industry earned about 30% more than his counterpart in a non-IP industry
  • The average salary in IP-intensive industries pay $50,576 per worker compared to the national average of $38,768.


Intellectual Property Drives Economic Growth and Competitiveness

  • America’s IP is worth $5.8 trillion, more than the nominal GDP of any other country in the world.
  • IP-intensive industries account for over 1/3– or 38%– of total U.S. GDP.
  • These industries also have 72.5% higher output per worker than the national average, valued at $136,556 per worker.
  • IP accounts for 74% of all U.S. exports- which amounts to nearly $1 trillion.
  • The direct and indirect economic impacts of innovation are overwhelming, acounting for more than 40% of U.S. economic growth and employment.


Strong and Enforced Intellectual Property Rights Protect Consumers and Families

  • Strong IP rights help consumers make an educated choice about the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of their purchases.
  • Enforced IP rights ensure products are authentic, and of the high-quality that consumers recognize and expect.
  • IP rights foster the confidence and ease of mind that consumers demand and markets rely on.


Intellectual Property Helps Generate Breakthrough Solutions to Global Challenges

  • Nearly all of the 300 products on the World Health Organization’s Essential Drug List, which are critical to saving or improving people’s lives around the globe, came from the R&D-intensive pharmaceutical industry that depends on patent protections.
  • Innovative agricultural companies are creating new products to help farmers produce more and better products for the world’s hungry while reducing the environmental impact of agriculture.
  • IP-driven discoveries in alternative energy and green technologies will help improve energy security and address climate change.


Intellectual Property Rights Encourage Innovation and Reward Entrepreneurs

  • Risk and occasional failure are the lifeblood of the innovation economy. IP rights incentivize entrepreneurs to keep pushing for new advances in the face of adversity.
  • IP rights facilitate the free flow of information by sharing the protected know-how critical to the original, patented invention. In turn, this process leads to new innovations and improvements on existing ones.
  • American’s Founding Fathers so recognized the importance of innovation and ensured that strong IP rights for authors and inventors are protected in the U.S. Constitution, thus making America the world’s entrepreneural leader— a fact borne out by the overwhelming number of patents, copyrights and trademarks filed by the U.S. annually.


Bringing all of these important and diverse points together is the fact that protecting IP is a non-partisan issue that is shared by a broad coalition of interests. These rights are embraced by all sectors of industry—small, medium and large companies alike—and by labor organizations, consumer groups, and other trade associations we bring together.

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