US Report: Foreign-Owned Firms Dominate IP Industries

Intellectual Property Watch

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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