A new survey reveals that most U.S. businesses view trademarks and trade secrets as the most important forms of intellectual property (IP) protection. The study was conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Census Bureau as part of their 2008 Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS). According to a NSF press statement, the survey polled a nationally representative sample of about 40,000 companies, including companies in both manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries. Here’s the results:

• Fifteen percent of all businesses reported trademarks as either very important or somewhat important to their business (6 percent said trademarks were very important, while 9 percent said they were somewhat important).

• Fourteen percent of surveyed businesses reported trade secrets as very important or somewhat important (6 percent and 8 percent respectively).

• Twelve percent of those surveyed identified copyrights as important.

• Five percent of respondents indicated that design patents are important, while four percent viewed utility patents as an important form of IP protection.

“Much of today’s business derives its competitive advantage from the ability to protect and exploit exclusive rights over investments in intellectual property,” said John Jankowski, lead author of the report in NSF’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. “Hence, IP protection is a persistent and recurrent concern of businesses.”

If you need assistance with protecting your intellectual property or more information about how and what to protect, please contact me.

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