Trevor Little

  • Study focused on Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Peru
  • Trademark-intensive industries accounted for 15% of GDP
  • Intensive industries added $2,390 of value per capita per year

Trademark intensive industries across Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Peru account for 18.5 million jobs and $2,390 of value added per capita per year, according to research commissioned by INTA and ASIPI. For those working in such industries, salary premiums of up to 25% were observed.

Last week INTA’s study into the economic importance of trademarks in five Association of Southeast Asian Nations evidenced the contribution made by trademark-intensive industries to gross domestic product (GDP), employment and productivity in the region. Hot on the heels of this major research project comes the translation of the association’s Trademarks in Latin America impact report (the report was initially published on December 15 2016, but the English translation was only made available late last week). The study, a collaboration between INTA and Asociación Interamericana de la Propiedad Intelectual (ASIPI), sought to determine the impact of trademark-intensive industries on the economies of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Peru.

In terms of headline findings, across the five selected countries the Nice Classes of products and services considered trademark-intensive accounted for between 8% and 26% of total employment (varying by country). They also accounted for between 10% and 21% of the GDP (“value added”) of the countries studied, equal to 18.5 million jobs and $2,390 of value added per capita per year:

Share of trademark intensive sectors over total employment

Share of trademark-intensive sectors over total value added 

Chile

26%

21%

Colombia

13%

17%

Mexico

20%

15%

Panama

13%

16%

Peru

8%

10%


Crucially, the analysis of relative salaries in intensive sectors and the average of the economy shows that those of intensive sectors are higher – the ‘salary premium’ varying from 5% and 25%:

Salary premium (salary in trademark intensive sectors over salary in non-intensive sectors

Chile

20%

Colombia

14%

Mexico

4.6%

Panama

20%

Peru

25%


There is, then, some variation between the countries studied and this was seen in other areas of focus. For instance, the contribution of trademark-intensive sectors to international trade varies from 9% to 33% in the case of exports and between 13% and 51% in the case of imports. As the report explains, in general, the impact on exports tends to be smaller than on imports because of the difference in trade patterns: “In a large proportion, the countries selected export goods derived from natural resources that are sold wholesale (oil, mineral, and agricultural products) and import manufactured goods that use trademarks more often for identification in markets”.

Drilling down, Chile’s leading position amongst the five countries in terms of ‘value added’ is largely attributable to the importance of its services sector (which alone accounts for 61.5% of the total value added in its economy). Similarly, in Colombia the service sectors also have a big impact (twice as much as goods). As noted in the above table, Peru boasted the highest salary premium (25%) for trademark intensive industries. The report notes that the country registers more trademarks per 1,000 job holders than Mexico, Chile, or Colombia, with the country having experienced an auspicious period of growth since 2004.

While there were variances from country to country, when the results are compared to those in the economic impact studies previously conducted in the Europe Union and the United States, there are a number of similarities. For instance, in the case of employment, the share of trademark-intensive activities is, on average, 16% in the United States and 21% in the European Union. Mexico, Panama, and Colombia therefore align with these figures; Chile is a little above this level, and in Peru the impact is lower.

There were some key differences though. In relatively more developed countries, the GDP share of trademark-intensive activities is around 30%. In the Latin American countries selected, Chile is closest, with trademark-intensive sectors contributing 21% of GDP. To explain this, the study notes: “Because of the differences in the trade patterns between Latin American countries and relatively more developed countries (the former export commodities in a high proportion and import manufactured goods and services), intensive sectors have a smaller impact on international trade in Latin America.”

Reviewing the data across the five countries, then, as well as accounting for 18.5 million jobs, economic activities that register and use trademarks intensively were found to make up, on average, account for 15% of GDP, 15% of exports, and 26% of imports. The report adds: “Furthermore, trademark-intensive sectors pay higher salaries than the rest of the economy, which indicates their greater productivity.”  As a result, INTA states that the findings “underscore the huge potential for economic growth that can be unlocked by promoting trademarks within the business communities, and by further developing national trademark systems and trademark-intensive industries”.

As we noted with respect to the ASEAN study, the findings also serve as another contribution to the emerging body of research that highlights just how important trademarks are for economies across the globe.

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