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Intellectual property fosters 82 million jobs in the EU

Intellectual property rights intensive industries and economic performance in the European Union 2022

The latest edition of a report published today by the EPO and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) shows that industries, making intensive use of intellectual property rights (IPRs) generated 29.7% of all jobs in the EU in 2017-19. This means that sectors using patents, trade marks or designs, among other IPRs, directly employed more than 61 million people in the EU. In addition, another 20 million jobs were generated in industries that supply goods and services to IPR-intensive businesses, adding up to a total number of 82 million IPR dependent jobs (39.4%).

According to the study, which is updated regularly to assess the impact of intellectual property on the European economy, IPR-intensive industries generated EUR 6.4 trillion in 2017-19, or more than 47% of the EU's GDP. These industries also accounted for most of the EU's trade with the rest of the world and generated a trade surplus of EUR224 billion.

IPR-intensive sectors are also boosting intra-EU trade, an indicator analysed for the first time in this edition of the report. In fact, the study reveals that activities in these sectors accounted for more than 75% of intra-EU trade and are a major driver of cross-border job creation, with almost 7 million IPR-intensive jobs in the EU member states created by companies based in other EU member states. The study also reveals that 80.5% of EU imports and 80.1% of EU exports are generated by IPR-intensive industries.

The study also shows that activities making an intensive use of patents, trade marks or designs, among others, pay significantly higher wages than other industries (41% more). According to the findings, the value added per worker is higher in IPR-intensive industries than elsewhere in the economy. The average weekly wage in IPR-intensive industries is EUR 840, compared with EUR 597 in non IPR-intensive industries. This "wage premium" is 34% in design-intensive industries, 40% in trade mark-intensive industries, 49% in copyright-intensive industries and 65% in patent-intensive industries. 

Economic impact of IPR-intensive industries

N.B. The small dip observed between the first and second edition of the study was likely a consequence of the Great Recession (second edition focused on the post-crisis period). However, this drop is small and a continuous increase of the contribution of IPR-intensive industries can be observed in subsequent editions. 

Europe's sustainability drive 

The study also finds that IPR-intensive industries active in the development of climate change mitigation technologies (CCMTs) and "green" trade marks are a boon to Europe's economy. Their economic impact has also increased in recent years, accounting for 9.3% of employment and 14.0% of GDP in the EU in 2017-19. Overall, every tenth European patent application filed by an EU company or inventor in 2019 was related to CCMTs aimed at reducing or preventing the emission of greenhouse gases. Green trade marks filed by EU-based companies account for a similar share of all EU trade mark applications in 2021. 

The President of the European Patent Office, António Campinos, said: "Innovation, backed by an efficient system of intellectual property rights, is key to securing Europe's growth and long-term competitiveness. The latest edition of this report shows that IPR-intensive sectors are more important than ever for the European economy. So it is good news for companies and inventors that the environment for innovation in Europe will soon receive a boost with the launch of the new Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court."

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