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The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released "Intellectual property and the U.S. economy: Third edition,” highlighting the economic contributions of industries that make greater use of intellectual property (IP) protection, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

The report--prepared by the USPTO Office of the Chief Economist--found that in 2019, 127 IP-intensive industries in sectors such as manufacturing; wholesale and retail trade; and professional, technical, management, and administrative services accounted for $7.8 trillion in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), or 41% of total GDP. Direct employment in these industries accounted for 47.2 million jobs in 2019, or 33% of total U.S. employment. Indirect employment—jobs created in other industries that depend at least partially on final sales in IP-intensive industries—accounted for an additional 11% of U.S. employment. In total, IP-intensive industries contributed 44% of U.S. employment.

The report found a substantial wage premium for workers in IP-intensive industries, with average weekly earnings 60% higher than that received by workers in other industries. States in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Upper Midwest, and West Coast regions generally had the highest concentrations of workers in IP-intensive industries.

Relative to workers in non-IP-intensive industries, workers in IP-intensive industries were more likely to:

Earn higher wages
Work in larger companies (500 employees or more)
Participate in employer-sponsored health insurance plans
Participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans
Have a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree

Additionally, for the first time, the report provides data that offers greater insight into the demographics of workers in IP-intensive industries. In terms of overall workforce composition, the report found that women and minorities, except for those of Asian descent, were underrepresented in IP-intensive industries. Women comprised 43.7% of the workforce in IP-intensive industries, versus 54% in non-IP-intensive industries. The report further shows that Blacks and Hispanics respectively comprised 8.9% and 13% of the workforce in IP-intensive industries, versus 13.9% and 19.5% in non-IP-intensive industries.

The report observes that employment in IP-intensive industries tended to track general economy-wide upturns and downturns. Notably, by 2019, IP-intensive industries appeared to have recovered completely from the employment losses they experienced after the dot-com collapse of the early 2000s and the recession of 2007-2009.

The report is the latest in a series focused on the economic contributions of IP-intensive industries. The USPTO published previous reports in 2012 and 2016.

Intellectual property and the U.S. economy: Third edition + methodology supplement https://www.uspto.gov/ip-policy/economic-research/intellectual-property-and-us-economy
Press release https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/latest-uspto-report-finds-industries-intensively-use-intellectual-property-0
USPTO Office of the Chief Economist https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/organizational-offices/office-policy-and-international-affairs/office-chief-economist

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