A first in-depth evaluation of IP-related business in Europe has provided policymakers with clear evidence of the substantial economic value of IP. Among headline figures, the study by the EPO and OHIM has shown that IP-intensive industries employ 26 per cent of the workforce in the EU, but generate 39 per cent of GDP. Industry leaders should rightly expect innovation-friendly European policies in the coming years.
The report, Intellectual property rights intensive industries: contribution to economic performance and employment in Europe, was compiled in cooperation with the European Commission. It quantifies the contribution of IP-intensive industries in respect of output, employment, wages and trade, taking into account each major form of IP right: trade marks, patents, designs, copyright and geographical indications (GIs). While highest ranked countries comprise for example Germany, France and the UK, contributions from newer EU member states such as Poland are also quantified for comparison in future reports.
Considering the international perspective, the study shows that IP-intensive industries can take the credit for 90 per cent of the EU’s exports to the rest of the world, 71 per cent of which are accounted for by patent-intensive industries. Top exporting IP-intensive industries are heavily concentrated in manufacturing: for example, motor vehicles, pharmaceuticals, refined petroleum products, aircraft and communication equipment.
A similarly high figure was found for imports: 88 per cent are from IP-intensive industries outside Europe. While an IPrelated trade surplus for Europe exists in relation to design, copyright and GI-intensive industries, a trade deficit in relation to global brands and technology remains.
Based on a USPTO study prepared in 2012 using similar methodology, the findings for Europe were comparable to those for the US, albeit with a marginally lower contribution to GDP and employment in the US. In both the US and Europe, trade mark-intensive industries account for the highest contributions to GDP and employment.
Last but not least, creative workers will rejoice in the finding that remuneration in IP-intensive industries in Europe is overall 40 per cent higher than in other industries. While trade mark-intensive industries make the greatest contribution to employment, patent-intensive industries provide the highest wage premium: 64 per cent. More importantly, however, the contribution to employment made by creative industries – 77 million jobs, including 20 million created in the period 2008- 2010 analysed in the report – is clear evidence of social benefit.
Based on the report, the outlook for IP-intensive industries must surely be bright. As António Campinos, President of OHIM, has said about IP-related industries in response to the report, “We now have a clear answer. They do matter. They matter a lot”. Current initiatives such the European Unitary Patent may be just a sign of things to come.