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USPTO Chief Economist Unveils Agency’s New Economic Research Agenda During Conference on Intellectual Property and the Innovation Economy

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Washington, DC – The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Chief Economist Stuart Graham announced the agency’s new economic research agenda today in remarks at a conference titled “Intellectual Property and the Innovation Economy” held at the USPTO’s headquarters in Alexandria, Va. The Office of the Chief Economist is embarking on an aggressive economic research program to provide data on the effect of intellectual property (IP) on the economy.

The conference featured leading economists, academics, and representatives from the Department of Commerce and Justice as well as the Federal Trade Commission. USPTO Chief Economist Stuart Graham outlined the goals of the project during his opening remarks. Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos opened the conference’s afternoon session and addressed his agency’s new initiative.

“Given the strong nexus between intellectual property and economic growth, these research efforts will help us develop a greater understanding of the economic implications of IP policy and enforcement for the US economy,” said Kappos. “The USPTO is committed to furthering research in this critical area and to fostering a dialogue with outside economists and experts to help us better understand how our IP system can drive innovation, create industries, spur job creation and improve lives.”

“Technological innovation drives growth in the economy,” said Dr. Graham. “By developing a greater understanding of the relationship of IP to a range of important economic phenomena, we hope to provide the USPTO leadership with the best, most accurate and timely evidence available to inform policymaking in support of America’s competitiveness.”

Research goals include:

Researching the economics of USPTO initiatives, including the effort to reduce application backlogs, by better understanding their costs, benefits, and effects.The USPTO established the Office of the Chief Economist n March 2010, with the appointment of Dr. Stuart Graham as its first Chief Economist. Graham responsible for advising the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the USPTO Administrator for Policy and External Affairs on the economic implications of policies and programs affecting the U.S. intellectual property system.

  • Uncovering how IP relates to economic growth, performance and employment
  • Analyzing the role IP plays in the markets for technology
  • Researching the economics of trademarks and trademark examination
  • Understanding how IP relates to standards, standard setting, and standards policy

The Chief Economist initiates and oversees economic analysis on the topics of intellectual property protection and enforcement, with the objective of fulfilling the USPTO’s statutory obligation to provide the President--through the Secretary of Commerce--and the administration with advice on intellectual property policy.

The research agenda is posted on the USPTO website (

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