A new study from the National Science Foundation has revealed that most businesses are prioritizing intellectual property protection for their trademarks and trade secrets over copyrights and patents.
NSF researchers made use of data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau to inform its own Business R&D and Innovation Survey - a report drawing on the responses of approximately 40,000 American companies in manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries.
Overall, just 15 percent of respondents described trademarks as "very" or "somewhat" important to their businesses. Similar feelings were expressed regarding copyrights and patents at rates of 12 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
These findings have come as somewhat of a surprise to analysts considering the durable value of intellectual assets.
"Much of today's business derives its competitive advantage from the ability to protect and exploit exclusive rights over investments in intellectual property," noted NSF lead report author John Jankowski. "Hence, IP protection is a persistent and recurrent concern of businesses."
There were several outliers in the statistics, however, representing a notable uptick in IP activity. Respondents in the publishing sector acknowledged the importance of copyright protection, for example, while computer and electronics manufacturers were more intent on bolstering their patent portfolios.