The study by the European Patent Office (EPO) and EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) found IP rights (IPR) have a positive impact on GDP, employment, wages and trade.
The study (156-page / 1.12MB PDF), the second of its kind by the institutions, covered the contribution of IP rights to the European economy between 2011 and 2013. It showed that contribution grew in that time compared to between 2008 and 2010, the period of the inaugural study.
More than a quarter of all jobs generated in the EU in 2011-13 stemmed from "IPR-intensive industries", according to the report on the study. On average over that time, 60 million Europeans were employed in those industries, with a further 22m jobs generated in "industries that supply goods and services to the IPR intensive industries".
According to the report, "IPR-intensive industries are defined 4 as those having an above-average use of IPR per employee, as compared with other IPR-using industries".
IPR-intensive industries generated more than 42% of the EU's economic activity in the period, with the total value of that activity amounting to €5.7 trillion. The majority of EU trade with the rest of the world also stemmed from IPR-intensive industries, the report said.
EPO president Benoît Battistelli said: "Our second joint report confirms the benefits of patents and other IPRs for the European economy. Intangible assets are increasingly important for innovative companies today, especially for SMEs, but also for research centres and universities. We again see that this has a positive impact on jobs, growth and prosperity. But 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, executive director of the EUIPO, said: “The rapidly changing nature of business in the 21st century means that the EU and global economy relies strongly on intellectual property rights such as trade marks, designs, patents and other rights. The current report shows this reliance is continuing to grow and that these rights are often used inter-dependently. This poses the challenge of ensuring that IP rights are more accessible to all businesses, including SMEs, and are protected effectively against infringements, in order to help the EU to retain its innovative strengths and further leverage jobs and growth."
The joint EPO and EUIPO study was published as the UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) invited businesses and other stakeholders to share their views with it on proposed EU copyright reforms. In September the European Commission outlined plans to update EU copyright laws. The proposals include changes to help facilitate text and data mining by research bodies and new rules to provide publishers with new rights to control online dissemination.
Businesses can submit comments on the plans to the IPO via firstname.lastname@example.org until 6 December.
"The government is seeking views on the draft legislation to ensure that it delivers the best outcomes for all those affected by the measures," the IPO said. "We would welcome your views on the costs and benefits of these proposals, and suggestions for how the language of the proposed legislation can be improved. We would also welcome views on the possible impacts the legislation may have in light of the UK’s planned exit from the European Union."