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Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: 2016 Update report

This report builds on the 2012 version by providing an update on the impact of IP on US economy and a fresh look at the approach used to measure those results. The update continues to focus on measuring the intensity of IP use, and its persistent relationship to economic indicators such as employment, wages, and value added.

This report also incorporates findings from other studies that target similar research questions but apply different methodologies. This report attempts to understand the ways in which IP is used across different industries.

Employment in IP-intensive industries totaled 27.9 million in 2014, representing 18.2 percent of all jobs in the economy. Since the 2012 report, employment in IP-intensive industries has generally increased, rising from 27.1 million in 2010. As in the 2012 report, trademark-intensive industries contribute the most to employment. These industries accounted for 23.7 million jobs in 2014 (up from 22.6 million in 2010), or 85 percent of all IP-intensive jobs (up from 83 percent in 2010). Copyright-intensive industries supplied 5.6 million jobs (compared to 5.1 million in 2010) followed by patent-intensive industries with 3.9 million jobs (3.8 million in 2010).

The fact that copyright-intensive industries continue to have the highest self-employment share is not surprising as many jobs in the creative and performing arts are contract rather than payroll jobs, usually related to the completion or performance of a specific authored work. However, it should also be noted that trademark-intensive industries continue to have the largest number of self-employed persons at 1.8 million.

The 2012 report Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus identified IP-intensive industries and quantified their contribution to the U.S. economy. It found that in 2010 IP-intensive industries supported over 40 million jobs and accounted for about $5.06 trillion in value added; equivalent to 34.8 percent of U.S. GDP.

The current report provides updated results demonstrating that IP-intensive industries supported 45.5 million jobs and contributed $6.6 trillion in value added in 2014, equivalent to 38.2 percent of U.S. GDP. In addition, the current report reinforces the earlier finding that IP use permeates all aspects of the economy with increasing intensity and extends to all parts of the U.S.