Intellectual Property Rights: study indicates that roughly 35% of jobs in the EU rely on IPR-intensive industries

The European Commission today welcomed the publication of a study on Intellectual Property Rights, which was carried out jointly by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). This study, “Intellectual Property Rights intensive industries: contribution to economic performance and employment in Europe” (September 2013), measures the importance of Intellectual Property (IP) rights in the EU economy. Key findings of the study are that about 39% of total economic activity in the EU (worth some €4.7 trillion annually) is generated by IPR-intensive industries, and approximately 26% of all employment in the EU (56 million jobs) is provided directly by these industries, while a further 9% of jobs in the EU stems indirectly from IPR-intensive industries.

Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said: “I am convinced that intellectual property rights play a hugely important role in stimulating innovation and creativity, and I welcome the publication of this study which confirms that the promotion of IPR is a matter of growth and jobs. It will help us to further underpin our evidence-based policy making. What this study shows us is that the use of intellectual property rights in the economy is ubiquitous: from high-tech industries to manufacturers of sports goods, toys and computer games, all are making intensive use of not just one, but often several types of intellectual property rights.”

Benoît Battistelli, President of the European Patent Office (EPO) said: “This report shows that the benefit of patents and other IPRs is not just economic theory. For innovative companies intangible assets have become extremely important. Especially for SMEs, but also research centres and universities, patents often open the door to capital and business partners. In order to remain competitive in the global economy, Europe needs to encourage even further the development and use of new technology and innovations.”

António Campinos, President of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) said: “This study is the result of a detailed collaboration between experts drawn from different agencies and countries, using a transparent and replicable methodology. It tackles the fundamental question of the extent to which IPR-related industries matter to jobs, GDP and trade in the EU. We now have a clear answer. They do matter, they matter a lot.”

The study focuses on the EU economy and considers IPR-intensive industries as either those that register more Intellectual Property Rights per employee than other industries, or those where the use of IPR is an intrinsic characteristic of the industry’s activity. These industries are selected at EU-level, i.e. using EU-wide measures of IPR intensity.

The study also finds that:

  1. Average remuneration in IPR-intensive industries is more than 40% higher than in other industries;
  2. Examples of IPR-intensive industries include:
  • the manufacture of power-driven hand tools (patents);
  • the manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products (trademarks);
  • the manufacture of watches and clocks (designs);
  • book publishing (copyright); and
  • operation of dairies and cheese making (geographical indications).
  1. Hundreds of industries, as diverse as services activities related to financial services and insurance, advertising agencies, ice cream manufacture, wallpaper manufacture, wine production, electric lighting and domestic appliances, satellite telecommunications, and extraction of oil and gas are also all IPR-intensive, and many make simultaneous use of more than one IP right.

A list of all IPR-intensive industries is included in the Appendix to the report.

This study comes on foot of a broadly similar exercise carried out in 2012 by the US Patent and Trademark Office together with the Economics and Statistics Administration, which reached comparable findings for the US economy as the OHIM/EPO study has done for the EU economy.

The study is available at:

Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM):

European Patent Office:

More information on Intellectual Property Rights is available at: