On April 11, 2012, the Economics and Statistics Administration and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released a report entitled “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus.” The report describes in statistical terms the role of intellectual property (“IP”) in the U.S. economy. According to Commerce Secretary John Bryson, “This first of its kind report shows that IP-intensive industries have a direct and significant impact on our nation’s economy and the creation of American jobs.”

The report identifies 75 of 313 types of industries as “IP-intensive,” which rely heavily on the use of intellectual property (i.e., rights protected by patents, copyright, and trademarks). In 2010, these industries added $5.06 trillion to the U.S. economy, or one-third of the gross domestic product. According to the report, between 2010 and 2011, these industries grew at a rate of 1.6 percent, which was 60 percent faster than the average growth rate of 1.0 percent for other industries. The highest growth rate was reportedly in copyright-intensive industries, which grew at a pace of 2.4 percent. IP-intensive industries accounted for $775 billion, or 60.7 percent of merchandise exported from the United States in 2010.

In 2010, these industries directly accounted for 27.1 million jobs, or 18.8 percent of total U.S. jobs. Of this total, about 60 trademark-intensive industries accounted for 22.6 million jobs; 26 patent-intensive industries accounted for 3.9 million jobs; and 13 copyright-intensive industries accounted for 5.1 million jobs. Furthermore, IP-intensive industries indirectly contributed to 12.9 million jobs in other industries that either supplied or provided services to IP-intensive industries. Thus 40 million jobs, over one-fourth of all U.S. jobs, either directly or indirectly relied on IP-intensive industries. The states with the highest concentration of IP-intensive employment in 2010 were California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

There is a sizable difference in wages between IP-intensive industries and other industries. The average weekly wage for IP-intensive industries was $1,156 in 2010, which was 42 percent greater than the $815 paid on average in other industries. This wage difference nearly doubled between the years 1990 and 2010. The most significant increase in this wage difference was in copyright-intensive industries, rising from 65 percent in 2005 to 77 percent higher wages in 2010.

The Obama administration seeks to foster continued growth of IP-intensive industries by bolstering IP protections. In the news release accompanying the report, Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said, “[s]trong intellectual property protections encourage our businesses to pursue the next great idea, which is vital to maintaining America’s competitive edge and during our overall prosperity.” Secretary Bryson said, “When Americans know that their ideas will be protected, they have greater incentive to pursue advances and technologies that help keep us competitive, and our businesses have the confidence they need to hire more workers.”