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The value of intellectual property to the European economy is growing

2 November 2016

The contribution made by IP-led industries to the European economy has increased according to a second EU-wide study published by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The study has revealed that industries described as ‘IPR-intensive’ – those that file a high number of Community Trade Marks, Registered Design Rights and Patents – are responsible for about 42% of the European Union’s total economic activity (GDP), worth 5.7 trillion euros each year. Compared to the inaugural report, which was published in 2013, these findings reveal a significant increase in the economic benefit attributed to IP, which was previously deemed to be worth 4.7 trillion euros.

The study also finds that approximately 38% of all employment in the EU (82 million jobs) stems from businesses that have a higher than average use of IP rights.

Karl Barnfather, former chairman of the firm said:

“This study underlines the contribution that IP-led businesses are making to the European economy and it is very positive indeed to see this economic benefit increasing.

“The value placed on the contribution made by IP-led businesses to the European economy has increased by 1 trillion euros since the first EPO/EUIPO study was undertaken three years ago. This is a big step forward and indicates that businesses are recognising the value of R&D and are willing to invest it.

“Among the top 20 ‘IPR-intensive’ industries based on their contribution to European GDP, are engineering, computer science and pharmaceuticals – all areas where we have significant talent in the UK. In order to make the most of this economic potential, however, we must continue to raise awareness of the importance of intellectual property rights and the role it can play in wealth generation.”

The results compare very favourably with a US study published in September this year by the US Patent and Trademark Office, which revealed that the contribution made by IPR-intensive industries to the US economy was worth 38% of US GDP.


Karl Barnfather
Electronics, Computing & Physics group

If you require further information on anything covered in this briefing, please contact Karl Barnfather (; +44 1926 310 700) or your usual contact at the firm. This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

© Withers & Rogers LLP, November 2016