WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released a JEC report detailing the adverse effects that intellectual property theft has on our nation’s economic growth and ability to create jobs. The report, entitled “The Impact of Intellectual Property Theft on the Economy,” reveals the significant revenue losses for corporations, consumers and tax payers attributed to counterfeiting and piracy.
“Counterfeiting and piracy have become increasingly widespread, especially from China, hampering innovation and competitiveness and costing America jobs at a time when far too many are looking for work,” said Chairman Casey. “As our economy continues to recover, we must fight to alleviate roadblocks to growth like IP infringement, so that our businesses grow and create jobs.”
Protecting intellectual property is crucial for protecting and creating American jobs. IP-intensive industries accounted for nearly 20 percent of the U.S. workforce and a third of GDP in 2010, economic activity that is at risk from theft and cheating. IP-intensive industries have higher wages, contribute more to trade and generate greater sales per employee than non-IP intensive industries.
Not only are jobs and businesses harmed by IP infringement, consumers are put at risk by lower quality counterfeit goods. Some of these counterfeits include medication that could pose potential health and safety risks. IP theft has risen in recent years, the report finds. The amount of cases investigated by the United States International Trade Commission (U.S. ITC) rose by 80.6 percent in 2010 and 23.2 percent in 2011. While the problem is worldwide, China accounts for the vast majority of pirated goods seized at the U.S. border.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but many small firms lack the budget and resources to adequately defend themselves against IP theft or pursue enforcement action against losses. While small businesses represent 79 percent of all businesses in the country, only 10.5 percent have issued IP theft complaints. Resolution of infringement complaints is also hampered by a lengthy process. Nearly one-third of all submitted cases to the U.S. ITC took over a year to resolve.