US Report: Foreign-Owned Firms Dominate IP Industries

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By Kelly Burke for Intellectual Property Watch

A majority of leading firms in IP-related industries are foreign-owned, according to a new report, which argues that this should change the focus of US policymakers on domestic IP protection.

The report, titled “Foreign Ownership of Firms in IP-Intensive Industries” [pdf], identifies nationalities of the leading firms in several IP industries and challenges the assumption that the US is a global innovation leader in these industries.

The report includes findings from industries such as publishing, film/entertainment, recording and pharmaceutical.

Key findings include: Since 2008, foreign companies have obtained more US patents each year than US companies and in 2011 alone, foreign companies obtained 7,000 more than US companies. Also, eight of the 15 largest pharmaceutical companies by global sales are foreign owned and 57 per cent of the global revenue of was generated by foreign-owned companies.

“Assessing the U.S. global standing in IP-intensive industries is important because it helps to determine the optimal level of domestic IP protection, as well as what IP standards the U.S. should be urging upon its trading partners,” the report stated. “The critical point is that in such a globalized economy, U.S policymakers should no longer assume without reflection that the beneficiaries of protectionist IP policies are U.S. firms and, by extension, U.S. workers and shareholders.”


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  1. says

    The population of the combined EU countries as of JAN 2011 (Eurostat) was 503.5 million. The population of the USA by the Census Bureau JULY 2012 was about 314 million. So to say that EU employees about twice as many in the publishing industry as the US is about on the same proportion.

  2. andos tobing says

    Firstly, thanks to both the authors for the report. Second, the report also pictured that US is still one of the biggest IP industry, when comparing in a one-on-one basis, particularly on patent products.

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