The American economy of today looks far different than it did only a short time ago. The manufacturing prowess of the post-World War II years has evolved into a research-driven, Internet-based 21st-century world. Information has replaced industrialization as the touchstone for the American workforce.

This changing economy has resulted in severe economic dislocation for many as society struggles to find ways in which to adapt to changing realities. Efforts to create new jobs in this ever-changing economy are essential if America is to maintain its status as a world economic leader.

Fortunately, we can rely on an intellectual property system that can meet the challenges of this new reality. Patent, copyright and trademark law protects the rights of inventors and enables them to bring new products to market. Without these protections, there would be no incentive to innovate or invent. Armed only with an idea, risk-takers parlay an initial investment into a new company, attract investors and hire workers. It’s a formula for success that has worked time and time again throughout history.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center recently released a new report that demonstrates the importance of intellectual property to Louisiana’s economy.

GIPC’s Employing Innovation Across America study found that more than 234,000 jobs in Louisiana are directly related to intellectual property, and these jobs pay a premium: They are 33.2 percent higher than the average private sector wage. Another 436,000 Louisianans are employed in jobs indirectly related to IP. Without intellectual property protections, these jobs would in all likelihood cease to exist.

We can’t rest on our laurels but must instead continue to seek new ways in which to promote this valuable commodity. Two Louisianans on the front lines of doing this spoke recently at GIPC’s third annual Global IP Summit in Washington, D.C.

Aaron Miscenich, the president of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, and Christopher Stelly, Louisiana Entertainment’s executive director, both discussed how innovative startups and entrepreneurial innovations have allowed the citizens of New Orleans to recover and rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

The work is ongoing, and Louisiana is serving as a model for states around the country looking to evolve their economies to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Americans have the resources and the know-how to tackle any challenge that comes their way. A robust intellectual property system allows them to better meet those challenges, transforming ideas into new businesses and creating new jobs for a workforce that is hungry for opportunities.

Mark Elliot

executive vice president, Global Intellectual Property Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Washington, D.C.