EFPIA welcomes the publication of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and European Patent Office (EPO) joint report on the value of intellectual property right (IPR)-intensive industries in Europe: IPR-intensive industries – including the pharmaceutical sector – have once again been found to be integral to GDP, employment and trade.

Entitled, “Intellectual property rights intensive industries and economic performance in the European Union: Industry-Level Analysis”, this is the second edition of the study undertaken by the EUIPO and EPO in 2013, to quantify the contribution made by IPR-intensive industries to the EU economy. IPR-intensive industries are defined as those having an above-average use of IPR per employee.

We are living in a period of exceptional scientific and technological progress. In the pharmaceutical sector, this progress is critical as it means bringing innovative treatments to patients every day. The extensive portfolio of new medicines available today, and those in the pipeline for tomorrow, would not be there without IP: it is the lifeblood of pharmaceutical innovation. EFPIA shares the view of the report that it is vital to ensure that this system remains an effective means of implementing new innovation policies. 

The report concludes that an efficient IPR system encourages creativity and innovation and thereby undoubtedly ranks undoubtedly among the most important contributing factors to achieving a more competitive economy with higher employment. In a globalised economy, IPRs are indeed critical to the EU’s attractiveness and competitiveness as an investment location for high-tech industries such as ours. The report finds that IPR-intensive industries generated 27.8% of all jobs in the EU during the period 2011-2013, employing on average, 60 million Europeans, out of approximately 216 million. In total, including the further millions of jobs generated in other industries that supply goods and services to the IPR-intensive sector, 82.2 million – or 38.1% of all jobs depend on IPR. The report concludes that 42.3% of total economic activity (GDP) was generated by IPR-intensive industries.

From 2010 to 2013, the report identifies an overall 27% increase in exports between 2010 and 2013, with imports rising by only 15%, a relationship that has led to the positive EU trade balance. It is to be applauded that the report highlights the fact that IPR-intensive industries made a significant contribution to this figure, with exports up 30%, and a trade surplus of €96 billion.

EFPIA further notes the report's conclusion that IPR-intensive industries, with a perpetual focus on innovation, appear to have coped better with the severe economic crisis than the economy as a whole, helping to grow GDP, employment, wages and external trade, at EU level. We believe firmly that innovation can help build sustainable, healthy economies.

EFPIA Director General Richard Bergström said: “It is clear from this report that IPR-intensive industries – in which the pharmaceutical industry plays a proud, integral and significant role – are a clear driving force in boosting the overall EU economy. It is therefore vital that we protect IP by helping Europe's citizens, not just its policy-makers and industry specialists, to understand, recognise and appreciate the value of IP.”