New GDP Revision Values Intellectual Property

Numbers released today by the Commerce Department for the first time put an official value on the contribution of intellectual property (IP) to America’s economic growth, underscoring the need for strong IP protection and enforcement.

In its latest comprehensive revision to U.S. GDP, the Commerce Department announced changes to how the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will measure the size of the economy.

Specifically, BEA is adopting an expanded definition of business investment that includes spending on R&D and works of art like movies. These expenditures will form part of a new investment category called “intellectual property products.”

As BEA Director Steve Landefeld explained in a recent New York Times interview, “one of the longstanding gaps in the numbers has been the contributions of intangibles – creations in the arts and entertainment, research and development, things like that – and what they contribute to GDP.”

This change and others raised the value of U.S. GDP in the first quarter of 2013 by a whopping $551 billion, according to a statement by Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Alan Krueger.

The new measure better values innovation and creativity. It updates national accounting for today’s knowledge economy and validates the results of past studies demonstrating IP’s powerful impact on jobs and commerce.

If “what gets measured is what gets done,” the new numbers should put new muscle behind protecting and enforcing patents, trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property rights at home and abroad.

The NAM will continue working to that end through a manufacturing growth agenda that recognizes IP as the basis of America’s innovative economy.

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