Intellectual Property-Intensive Industries Contribute $5 Trillion to the US Economy

According to this recent study by the US Patent and Trademark Office and the Economics and Statistics Administration, industries where intellectual property protection plays a pivotal role made up 34.8 percent of GDP in 2010. To determine which industries are “intellectual property-intensive,” the analysis included patent data from 1963 through 2008, trademark data from a recent five-year period, and copyright data from 2009 to calculate the intensity of IP activity for each industry.

Those industries that have a higher-than-mean ratio of patents/trademarks to employees were deemed IP-intensive. The top four patent industries, and their respective patent data, are shown below:

Patent-Intensive Industries
Industry # of Patents Employment (1000 jobs) Patent Intensity (patents/1000 jobs)
Computer and peripheral equipment 55,416 196.1 277.5
Communications equipment 35,797 135.2 264.8
Semiconductor and other electronic components 50,088 71.4 111.6
Other computer and electronic products 7,744 441.3 108.5


The top four trademark industries are shown below:

Trademark-Intensive Industries
Industry Trademark Intensity (trademarks/1000 jobs)
Audio & video equipment mfg. 82.5
Other miscellaneous manufacturing 64.5
Satellite telecommunications 35.3
Lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets 33.3


The study identified copyright-intensive industries, and then combined the data to determine the 75 top industries in terms of intellectual property utilization. Upon identifying these IP-intensive industries, the study brought forth interesting statistics and trends, such as those demonstrated in the following chart:

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