Patent News

May. 21, 2015

Industry Week: Strong IP Protections Are Good for Workers, Good for the Economy, by Chad Moutray and Rob McKenna

This post originally appeared in Industry Week on May 21, 2015.

Manufacturers continue to urge U.S. negotiators to pursue a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement that opens markets, protects intellectual property rights and enables cutting-edge innovation. Such an agreement is vital for manufacturing businesses as they seek to grow and flourish, particularly in light of current headwinds in global markets, including the strong U.S. dollar and sluggish growth abroad. Trade agreements would help to counteract such challenges.

Yet, recently some critics have suggested that strong intellectual property (IP) protections are not important to middle-class workers. This is simply not the case. Reputable studies continue to find that workers benefit from high and rising earnings from the productivity-enhancing activities fostered by IP innovation. Consider the following:

  • The U.S. Department of Commerce found in 2013 that “IP-intensive industries have been a source of high-quality jobs, with average weekly wages in these industries averaging 42% higher than the average for all other industries.”
  • Matthew Slaughter, Ph.D., the incoming dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, reached the same conclusion, noting that the “IP compensation premium has been growing over time: from 22% in 1990 to 38% in 2000 to 42% in 2010.”

Improving the competitiveness and ensuring fair treatment of IP in the United States is clearly related to higher wages and better jobs. This is why our two organizations, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the National Alliance for Jobs and Innovation (NAJI), aggressively advocate for strong IP protection around the world on behalf of the more than 14,000 manufacturers we jointly represent that are driving the economic comeback.