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EU Study Shows IP Protection Vital to Economic Success

By Daniel Savickas | November 02, 2016

A new, recently-released study found that industries dependent on intellectual property rights (IPR) had booming effects on the European Union economy.

The economic effects did not stop there, as the study estimated that these IPR-intensive industries accounted for 42% of the EU economy, a total worth a little over $6.3 trillion. This positive impact also helped the EU garner a trade surplus, as the industries accounted for most of the EU’s external trade.

The benefits of protecting intellectual property rights in the EU, US, or around the globe cannot be understated.

Numerous lawmakers have pointed out the important role IP plays in fostering innovation. The future of any economy will be built by those who generate the next best idea. There is no way to incentivize this type of innovation if governments cannot ensure the integrity of these ideas will be upheld.

It is estimated that piracy costs consumers around $70 million per year. This practice is only rising, unfortunately, as, between 2012 and 2013, IP-related thefts rose by about 7%, and the costs incurred by the consumer increased by 38%.

Beyond protecting consumers from unreasonable costs, IP protection proactively boosts the public economically. The aforementioned study found that IP-related industry had wages 46% higher than that of the rest of the economy. This was highlighted by the fact that the value added per worker in IPR-intensive industry is demonstrably higher than in those that are not.

IP also protects content creators. For example, in the American music industry, artists profit more from the sale of vinyl records than off of digital streaming. This is due to the sheer number of illegally downloaded songs through digital media. Failure to protect the intellectual property of these artists saps money from their hard-earned work, and keeps it out of the economy.

In our troubled economic times, where growth often seems sluggish, it is more important than ever to boost the economy through IP. The study on the European Union showed that IPR-intensive industries were the most resilient to economic crisis.

This is growth that no country can afford to turn down.

In the digital age, ideas and innovation play a more prevalent role in the economy than ever before. It is imperative that the government protects consumers and creators from the stifling effects of IP theft. The future of our society and economy rests on the basic principle that ideas will change the world. Policy must reflect that.