[Ip-health] EPO and OHIM publish misleading report on intellectual property rights intensive industries in EU economy

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue Oct 1 02:42:26 PDT 2013


*EPO and OHIM publish misleading report on intellectual property rights
intensive industries in EU economy*

In 2012 the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a study titled
"Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus" which
estimated the number of jobs if various "IP intensive" industries. The
study was immediately panned by critics for its broad definitions --
grocery stores were the top "ip intensive industry" in the United States,
but it because a source of go-to-statistics for every PhRMA and publisher
lobby group pushing to new privileges and subsidies. (Commentary here:

On September 30, 2013, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Office for
Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) published their own knock off
version, titled "Intellectual Property Rights intensive industries:
contribution to economic performance and employment in Europe" (copy
which claimed that 39 percent of total economic activity in the EU is
"generated by IPR-intensive industries."

Like the USPTO study, the numbers are intended to mislead rather than
inform debate on intellectual property. The following is a quick rundown of
some of the employment numbers in the report, for various IP categories.

For "design intensive industries," the largest employer group, by far, is
"Wholesale of clothing and footwear," which is just one of several
"wholesale" categories designed as "Design intensive industries."

For "patent intensive industries," the list of top industries is mostly
made up of various manufacturing sectors. "Research and experimental
development on biotechnology" is listed as having just 47 thousand EU jobs,
out of more than 22 million "patent intensive" jobs in the study.

For the copyright industry, the study claims there are over 7,049,405 jobs
in the EU. But where are they? Book publishing is listed at 317,150, Sound
recording and music publishing activities at 37,750, and Publishing of
journals and periodicals just 13,300, or roughly 5 percent of the total
estimated jobs. Libraries and archives, on the other hand, are listed as a
"copyright intensive industry" with 397.800 jobs -- 5.6 percent of all
copyright intensive jobs.

The industry called "Motion picture, video and television programme
production activities" is estimated to have 224,350 jobs, plus several
related categories for distributing content, plus a number of jobs in the
field of broadcasting television and radio. But the numbers are swelled by
a number of entries that most people would not necessarily think of as
"copyright intensive." For example, the following 11 "copyright industries
make up more than 55 percent of all jobs deemed copyright intensive:

   - Advertising agencies 388.500 (5.1%)
   - Library and archives activities 397.800 (5.6%)
   - Media representation 797.900 (11.3%)
   - Other amusement and recreation activities 220.950 (3.1%)
   - Other information service activities n.e.c. 994.600 (14.1%)
   - Performing arts support activities 266.950 (3.8%)
   - Performing arts 85.800 (1.2%)
   - Public relations and communication activities 162.800 (2.3%)
   - Publishing of directories and mailing lists 231.500 (3%)
   - Translation and interpretation activities 152.000 (2.2%)
   - Web portals 191.300 (2.7%)

Like the USPTO study, the trademark intensive industry category is by far
the largest, with claims of 45.508.046 jobs. It involves many of the same
industries already counted in other categories such as patents, copyrights
or designs. It is hard to know what all is included here, since the "most
trademark intensive industries" in Table 11 (Page 52) only make up 2.8
percent of the 45.5 million in the category. It might ask for more details
on this sector, since my guess is that it includes a number of "industries"
that are not so impressive once named.

This was one of the statements by EU official Michel Barnier, in a press
release <http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-889_en.htm?locale=en> on
the study:

Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said: "I am
convinced that intellectual property rights play a hugely important role in
stimulating innovation and creativity, and I welcome the publication of
this study which confirms that the promotion of IPR is a matter of growth
and jobs. It will help us to further underpin our evidence-based policy
making. What this study shows us is that the use of intellectual property
rights in the economy is ubiquitous: from high-tech industries to
manufacturers of sports goods, toys and computer games, all are making
intensive use of not just one, but often several types of intellectual
property rights."

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