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:

  • By focusing on relevant data and various statistical measures, this report identified 75 industries (from among 313 total) as IP-intensive.
  • A substantial share of IP-intensive employment in the United States was in the 60 trademark-intensive industries, with 22.6 million jobs in 2010.
  • The 26 patent-intensive industries accounted for 3.9 million jobs in 2010, while the 13 copyright-intensive industries provided 5.1 million jobs.
  • Due primarily to historic losses in manufacturing jobs, overall employment in IP-intensive industries has lagged other industries during the last two decades. While employment in non-IP-intensive industries was 21.7% higher in 2011 than in 1990, overall IP intensive industry employment grew 2.3% over this same period. Because patent intensive industries are all in the manufacturing sector, they experienced relatively more employment losses over this period, especially during the past decade. While trademark intensive industry employment had edged down 2.3% by the end of this period, copyright-intensive industries provided a sizeable employment boost, growing by 46.3% between 1990 and 2011.
  • Between 2010 and 2011, the economic recovery led to a 1.6% increase in direct employment in IP-intensive industries, faster than the one % growth in non-IP-intensive industries. Growth in copyright-intensive industries (2.4%), patent-intensive industries (2.3%), and trademark-intensive industries (1.1%) all outpaced gains in non-IP-intensive industries.
  • Jobs in IP-intensive industries pay well compared to other jobs. Average weekly wages for IP-intensive industries were $1,156 in 2010 or 42% higher than the $815 average weekly wages in other (non-IP-intensive) private industries. This wage premium nearly doubled from 22 % in 1990 to 42 % by 2010. Patent- and copyright-intensive industries have seen particularly fast wage growth in recent years, with the wage premium in patent-intensive industries increasing from 66 % in 2005 to 73 % in 2010, and the premium in copyright-intensive industries rising from 65 % to 77 %.
  • The comparatively high wages in IP-intensive industries correspond to, on average, the completion of more years of schooling by these workers. More than 42 % of workers aged 25 and over in these industries in 2010 were college educated, compared with 34 % on average in non-IP-intensive industries.
  • More than 33.7 million copyrights have been registered in the United States since 1790, when Congress enacted the first Federal copyright law. Of these, approximately 150,000 were registered between 1790 and the centralization of copyright functions in the Library of Congress in 1870. In 2009, more than 382,000 basic copyrights were registered.
  • Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8 and on Facebook

    Layer 8 Extra

    Check out these other hot stories:

    Creepy: FBI wants to advance the science of interrogation

    Expect a flood of competitions as US tries to spur public inventions

    FBI: Child porn "computer expert" added to Top Ten Fugitive list

    US grabs more domain names, $896,000 in fake goods

    NASA Shuttle Discovery set to buzz Washington, DC

    US offers $12M to develop wireless charging stations for electric vehicles

    Will "big data" create new IT jobs or incite massive retraining?

    Free apps like Angry Birds suck the life out of your smartphone

    High-tech laser guns will zap targets in Olympic pentathlon event

    So, what is on a US Service mainframe anyway?

    What do you want mobile phones to do in the next 40 years?

    NASA wants game-changing space toilet, waste systems


Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful companies in enterprise networking 2022