Invention and Intellectual Property

Protecting value of invention.

The modern history of human progress is intertwined with the history of invention – from the steam ship to the airplane, the light bulb to the X-ray machine, the telegraph to the smartphone. The drive to invent is a core value of Qualcomm’s identity, and protection of inventors’ rights is important to both the company and our business model.

Economists and historians agree there has been no greater incentive to invent than protection of inventors’ rights to the intellectual property (IP) produced by their hard work and creativity. Patents are the primary means of protecting IP and represent a rule-of-law guarantee akin to a deed’s role in protecting the ownership of land. The Founders of the United States wrote patent protection into the Constitution to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts,” and Abraham Lincoln revered patents for adding “the fuel of interest to the fire of genius.”

Strong patent protection in the United States and other economies encourages investment in research and development by companies and individuals that has resulted in life-changing technologies, including the technologies that make possible the wireless communications that define our world today.

Patents are also a key driver of economic growth and a universally respected measure of a country’s competitiveness and innovation.

In 2010, IP-intensive industries in the United States accounted for $5.06 trillion in value added, or 34.8 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) . IP-intensive industries created 40 million jobs in 2010 alone, accounting for 27.7 percent of jobs in the U.S. economy, according to a recent study from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Additionally, every two jobs in IP-intensive industries support an additional job elsewhere in the economy.  

To ensure the protection of patents in the U.S. and around the world, Qualcomm supports a careful legislative and regulatory approach to any changes in the patent system that doesn’t undermine inventors’ rights. To bolster the strength of the U.S. patent system, Qualcomm supports efforts to fully fund the United States Patent and Trademark Office