G20 Leaders: Support IP Rights to Boost Economic Growth

The G20 Summit is set to convene in Hamburg, Germany on the 7th and 8th of July. As global leaders from the world’s largest economies meet to discuss best practices for achieving “strong and sustainable global economic growth,” it’s an opportune time to consider and recognize the critical role robust intellectual property (IP) systems play in driving economic growth and stability in countries around the world.

Strong IP systems serve as the bedrock for innovation—public policy and regulations that cultivate and protect intellectual property help foster environments that promote innovation, incentivize investment in the high-risk research and discovery process, facilitate important knowledge sharing, and help accelerate access to innovative products and process worldwide.

But IP rights and protections are also tremendously beneficial to supporting economic growth and sustainability—a vital factor that should not be overlooked. In the United States, IP-intensive industries account for nearly 35 percent of total economic output; in the European Union this number reaches 42 percent. Such industries also support the creation of jobs that not only employ hundreds of millions of people worldwide, but also generally pay higher wages. According to the Global Intellectual Property Center, the average worker in an IP-intensive industry earns approximately 30 percent more than a counterpart in a non-IP intensive industry.

The biopharmaceutical industry—a sector that relies on stable IP systems—is a prime example of an IP-intensive industry that is vitally important to economies around the world. Millions of people worldwide are employed by the industry and according to the most recent data, the biopharmaceutical sector alone contributed $437 billion to the global GDP between 2006 and 2012, demonstrating the key role IP plays in economic growth and employment in countries worldwide.

When IP is protected, industries that depend on the safeguarding of intellectual property can flourish, generating high-paying jobs and driving economic growth and competitiveness. As representatives from economic powerhouses deliberate on how to best promote stronger economies internationally, the significant contributions of IP-intensive industries and the importance of protecting such sectors, should be recognized.