From our world-class universities and our unmatched workforce to our culture of entrepreneurship and drive for success, there are many reasons America's economy is the strongest in the world.
But a bedrock of our economy is too often overlooked: our intellectual property system.
Intellectual property rights have their own clause in the Constitution because our Founding Fathers recognized the importance of encouraging invention and innovation. They wanted the United States to be a place where we looked to the future and constantly strived for progress, and all the way back in the eighteenth century, the Founders laid the groundwork for a strong patent system that made the U.S. the most innovative country in history. On Wednesday, we introduced a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate that seeks to continue this proud tradition.
Why is this effort so important? Even today, laws protecting intellectual property increase job growth and boost our economy. In 2014, patent-heavy industries accounted for more than $800 billion in value added to the U.S. economy and 3.9 million American jobs. They're good jobs too—those in research, development, and manufacturing pay 74 percent more on average than positions in other sectors.
Patent-supported technology and science-intensive companies don't just support good jobs, they also contribute to a higher standard of living by generating life-saving drugs, new consumer products, and faster, better services. From the garage to the lab to the factory, we depend on innovators to be able to invent and protect their ideas.