Intellectual property worth over 27 million jobs, $5.6 trillion to US economy

Commerce Department takes first-ever measurement of intellectual property value

Getting a handle on how much the wide-spread community of intellectual property is worth to the United States is no small task.

The US Department of Commerce's Economics and Statistics Administration and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office took a shot at it recently and found that through 2010 anyway that 27.1 million jobs or 18.8% of all employment in the economy were had in were in what the study called "IP intensive" industries, and 12.9 million other positions were indirectly connected.

More: The fierce battle for intellectual property

The Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus study said there were about 75 industries in the "IP intensive" realm which includes everything from computers and electronics to medical and movie industries.   Such industries accounted for about $5.06 trillion, or 35% of the US gross domestic product in 2010, according to the study.  

For the study the Department of Commerce said it defined patent-intensive industries as ones with above-average patent intensity  patent/job ratio) when comparing all industries.  The four most patent-intensive industries were classified in computer and electronic product manufacturing.  This  industry includes computer and peripheral equipment; communications equipment; other computer and electronic products; semiconductor and other electronic components; and navigational, measuring, electro-medical, and control instruments. This is unsurprising when one also looks at the recent top ten US companies ranked by granted patents, the study noted.   This group of companies includes Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Micron Technology, and  Texas Instruments, each of which is closely associated with computer and computer peripheral manufacturing.

Some other interesting facts from the IP study include:

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