Intellectual property rights strongly benefit the European economy, EPO-EUIPO study finds

  • Industries that make intensive use of intellectual property rights (IPRs) generate 45% of economic activity in the European Union
  • IPR-intensive industries employ up to one in three people in the EU
  • These industries pay 47% higher wages than other sectors

Munich/Alicante, 25 September 2019 – 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 and account for 63 million jobs (29% of all jobs). 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) which
analyses the importance of IPRs for the EU economy between 2014 and 2016.

the period under review, employment in IPR-intensive industries grew by 1.3
million jobs compared with 2011-13, while total employment in the EU declined
slightly. The value added per employee in these industries is higher than in
the rest of the economy. Accordingly, IPR-intensive industries pay significantly
higher wages: on average 47% more than other sectors, with the figure rising to
72% for patent-intensive industries.

Executive Director of the EUIPO, Christian
, said:

that use intellectual property rights intensively play a crucial role in making
the EU more prosperous and in securing its economic future. These industries
are more resilient in the face of economic crisis and more innovative. Our
challenge is to ensure that all firms and entrepreneurs can secure their IP
rights, particularly SMEs.”

President of the European Patent Office, António
, said:

importance of IPR-intensive industries reflects the strength of the
knowledge-based economy in Europe. Businesses in these sectors often file
bundles of intellectual property rights in combination to protect their
intellectual assets. This strategy creates products and services with high
added value, and in doing so helps secure Europe’s long-term competitiveness.”

report is the third in a series that tracks the contribution of industries
making an above-average use of trade marks, designs, patents, copyright,
geographical indications and plant variety rights to economic growth and
employment in the EU.

industries also account for most of the EU’s trade in goods and services with
the other regions of the world (81%). The EU as a whole had an overall trade surplus in IPR-intensive
industries of approximately EUR 182 billion in 2016, counterbalancing a small
deficit in non-IPR intensive trade.

Patents and drivers of economic growth

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.  

report also looks at the patent-intensive industries which make a major
contribution to technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and digital transformation
in the EU. It finds that these 4IR-intensive
industries accounted for 1.9% of total EU employment and 3.9% of GDP in 2014-16,
with both figures increasing compared to 2011-13. In terms of wages, 4IR-intensive
industries pay more than double the average of non-IPR-intensive industries and
39% above the wage in all IPR-intensive industries.

Industrial design as job motor

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

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


Note to editors

Today’s report is the third in a
series of economic studies revealing the contribution of intellectual property
rights-intensive industries to the EU economy. It covers a broad range of IP
rights trade marks, patents,
designs, copyright, geographical indications and plant variety rights and considers a variety of economic
indicators, in particular gross domestic product (GDP), employment, external
trade and wages. The 2013 study covered the period 2008-10, and the 2016 update covered 2011-13. The present study considers the more recent
period 2014-16. In addition, to complement the data for the EU Member States,
those for Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are also included in this study.

average use of IPR within the EU is 1 European patent per 1,000 employees, 4.7
European trade marks per 1,000 employees, 1.7 industrial designs per 1,000
employees, and 0.2 plant variety rights per 1,000 employees. The intensity
cannot be calculated for copyrights and GIs in the same way, as they are not
registered on EU level. Since the
same industry may make intensive use of more than one intellectual property
right, the sum of the figures for the individual IPR-intensive industries
exceeds the total figure for all IPR-intensive industries.

About the EPO

With nearly 7 000 staff, the European Patent
Office (EPO)

is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Headquartered in
Munich with offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna, the EPO was
founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe.
Through the EPO’s centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to
obtain high-quality patent protection in up to 44 countries, covering a market
of some 700 million people. The EPO is also the world’s leading authority in
patent information and patent searching.

About the

The EUIPO is a decentralised agency of
the EU, based in Alicante, Spain. It manages the registration of the European
Union trade mark (EUTM) and the registered Community Design (RCD), both of
which provide intellectual property protection in all EU Member States. The
EUIPO also carries out cooperation activities with the national and regional intellectual
property offices of the EU.

Media contacts European Patent Office

Jana Mittermaier
Director External Communication

Rainer Osterwalder
Press Spokesperson

EPO press desk
Tel: +49 (0)89 2399 1820
Mobile: +49 163 8399527

Press contact EUIPO 

Ruth McDonald
Tel.: +34 96 513 7676 

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