Joint EPO-EUIPO study highlights economic benefits of IP for Europe

25 October 2016

Contribution to EU GDP (click to enlarge)

The EPO and the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) today published their second EU-wide study of the impact of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) on the European economy in terms of GDP, employment, wages and trade.

The study finds that more than 42% of total economic activity in the EU (some EUR 5.7 trillion annually) is generated by IPR-intensive industries, and approximately 38% of all employment in the EU (82 million jobs) stems from businesses that have a higher than average use of IP rights. The report also finds that average wages in IPR-intensive industries are more than 46% higher than in other industries.

Employment in IPR-intensive industries (click to enlarge)

In addition, IPR intensive industries have played a dramatic role in EU trade, with a very high share of imports (85%), and an even higher share of exports (93%), as well as generating a trade surplus of € 96.4 billion for the EU in the period 2011-2013. These businesses also appear to have shown more resilience in the face of the economic crisis, as the study reveals a slight increase in the contribution of these industries to the EU economy since 2010.

Comparison of average wage (click to enlarge)

EPO President Benoît Battistelli said: “Our joint report again confirms the benefits of patents and other IPRs for the European economy. Intellectual property assets are increasingly important for innovating companies, especially for SMEs, but also for research centres and universities. They have a positive impact on jobs, economic growth and prosperity in Europe.”

António Campinos, Executive Director of the EUIPO, said: “The rapidly changing nature of business in the 21st century means that the EU and global economy relies strongly on trademarks, designs, patents and other rights. This poses the challenge of ensuring that IP rights are more accessible to all businesses, and are protected effectively against infringement, in order to help the EU to retain its innovative strengths.”

IPR-intensive indutries in EU external trade (click to enlarge)

The study covers a broad range of IP rights – patents, trademarks, designs, copyright, geographical indications (GIs) and plant variety rights. It also identifies industries that use them more intensively than others and quantifies the contribution of these businesses to key economic indicators at EU level, in particular gross domestic product (GDP), employment, wages and external trade. It further reports that IP-intensive industries such as engineering, motor vehicles and life sciences, account for approximately 90% of the EU's trade with the rest of the world.

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