Intellectual property and the U.S. economy: Third edition

Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Third Edition report cover

This report on intellectual property (IP) and the U.S. economy builds on reports published in 2012 and 2016. It provides an update on the importance of IP-intensive industries to the U.S. economy and takes a fresh look at the approach used to determine those results.

The update measures the intensity of IP use and its persistent relationship to economic indicators such as employment, wages, and output. It also includes new demographic information about the employees working in IP-intensive industries. The updated data are more refined, thus improving precision in identifying companies within industries and adding new industries to the report. 

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The report’s major findings:

Infographic on workers in the IP intensive industries versus non-IP intensive industries.

Industries in the United States that intensively use IP accounted for 41% of domestic economic activity, or output, in 2019. That year, the IP-intensive industries directly accounted for more than 47 million U.S. jobs. In addition to these jobs, IP-intensive industries supported an additional 15.5 million jobs in other industries that supply them intermediate goods and services. In total, the IP-intensive industries supported 62.5 million U.S. jobs in 2019, or 44% of employment.

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

  • Earn higher wages, with the highest earnings in the copyright-intensive industries, followed by earnings in the utility patent-intensive industries, design patent-intensive industries, and the trademark-intensive industries.
  • Work in larger companies (500 employees or more).
  • Participate in employer-sponsored health insurance.
  • Participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans.
  • Have a bachelor’s or graduate degree.
  • Be veterans.



Previous reports