April 11th, 2012
08:22 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The protection of intellectual property is vital to virtually every aspect of the U.S. economy, according to a new report released by the Department of Commerce.
The report, titled “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus,” highlights many industries and exports that intellectual property supports, concluding that nearly every sector of the U.S. economy relies on or uses some aspect of intellectual property.
IP refers to the creative processes of innovation and introduction of new ideas into the economy. It includes patents, trademarks, and copyrights but also extends to ideas and the creation of words, phrases, and designs.
According to Commerce Secretary John Bryson, industries affected by intellectual property account for more than 40 million jobs, 61% of exports and more than $775 billion in goods and services. At an event in Washington DC on Wednesday, Bryson said that protecting these rights is key to keeping the United States competitive.
“It's clear that intellectual property protection is more critical than ever,” the commerce secretary said. “When Americans know their ideas will be protected, they have greater incentive to pursue advances in technologies. That helps keep us competitive and makes us competitive into the future.”
According to the report, more jobs in IP-related fields have been created than in other fields and those jobs pay 42% higher in wages.
Also participating in the event held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building were Thomas Donahue, Pres. and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Both groups praised the report, saying that protecting innovative ideas is an issue critical to the overall recovery of the economy and job creation.
“Innovation is a key driver of economic growth and job creation,” Donahue said. “We can’t create jobs without strong intellectual property protection.”
Trumka added that protecting intellectual property is only one part of the solution. Other measures must also be taken to prevent abuse from abroad.
“At a time of high long-term joblessness, we must employ U.S. workers to use U.S. intellectual property in the United States. If we don’t, we will lose the stimulus to innovation that hands-on experience supplies,” Trumka said.