In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a large amount of government backed funding made available in the UK to promote UK based innovation. In particular, various schemes, competitions, grants and loans have been announced with the aim of helping UK SMEs involved in technology and R&D grow as the Covid-19 disruption dies down. We have reported on a number of these recently.
An area that is important for achieving this aim, but is perhaps at risk of being overlooked during this period of widespread disruption and uncertainty, is intellectual property.
A considered and well thought through IP strategy can help an SME in a number of ways. This is explained in detail by 4ip Council – a not-for-profit European research council – through the use of interactive guides. These guides set out various reasons why SMEs should use patents, copyright, trade marks and design rights. One reason is that a good IP strategy can help SMEs attract funding and investment. Another is that IP rights can help an SME protect their market position. IP rights may also open up new opportunities for business collaboration by, for example, entering into mutually beneficial agreements with other parties through cross-licensing of complimentary IP assets.
In short, IP rights such as patents, trade marks and registered designs are flexible assets that can be used by an SME as part of a wider business strategy to help the SME achieve its objectives and grow. Indeed, as we reported here, a study last year published by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) found that SMEs that apply for patents, trade marks or registered designs have a greater probability of experiencing high growth than SMEs that do not.
The above will still apply in a post-Covid world, and so it is important that UK based companies, when considering their funding opportunities and business development plans, keep IP in mind.
If you would like to discuss how an intellectual property strategy can improve your business, or for more information about intellectual property protection, please get in touch.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.