Industries that use intellectual property rights generate 45% of GDP in the EU

Industries that make intensive use of intellectual property rights (IPRs) such as patents, trademarks, industrial designs and copyright generate 45% of GDP (EUR 6.6 trillion) in the EU annually. They also account for 63 million jobs (29% of all jobs).

economic growth

A further 21 million people are employed in sectors that supply these industries with goods and services. These are among the findings of a joint report released today by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The study analyses the importance of IPRs for the EU economy between 2014 and 2016.

Patents and drivers of economic growth

The report finds that industries making intensive use of patents employ some 24 million people and generate 16% of the EU’s total GDP, and also looks at specific technology sectors. In climate change mitigation technologies (CCMTs), for example, patent-intensive industries accounted for 2.5% of employment and 4.7% of GDP in the EU in the period under review. The economic weight of CCMTs is expected to increase as countries work towards the goals set by the Paris Agreement. European firms already play a leading role in this technology sector, with nearly 10% of all patent applications at the EPO from EU applicants in recent years relating to CCMTs.

Industrial design as job motor

The EU has a rich design tradition, and is a world leader in industrial design. Design-intensive industries have a strong economic impact across the EU-28. In total, industries that use design rights account for 30.7 million direct jobs and contribute 16.2% of the EU’s total GDP. Exports in this sector generated a trade surplus of over EUR 66 billion in 2016.

Trade mark intensive industries

Trade mark registrations are often indicative of future business success, establishing a company’s brand and underlining its distinctiveness in the marketplace. Industries that make intensive use of trade marks contribute 37% to the EU’s GDP and support 46.7 million jobs. Those industries also pay wages that are 48% higher than industries that do not use intellectual property rights.

Source: EPO

    • September 2020
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