A patent provides an exclusive right, for a limited period of time, that can be used to prevent others from making, using, importing, or selling products and/or carrying out processes covered by the patent. This is all well and good for a multinational corporation that has the means to police their patents and sue infringers, but where is the value for smaller innovative companies, such as startups or SMEs, which are unlikely to have the resources to do that? Obtaining patent protection can be expensive and uncertain, so what’s the point?
“European SMEs generally make effective use of European patents to protect their key inventions, and successfully commercialise up to two thirds of them”, according to a new study published by the European Patent Office (EPO). However, serious challenges remain, ranging from a lack of IP expertise and resources available to SMEs, to the need for more contacts to support their commercialisation efforts across Europe.
The European Patent Office (EPO) and the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) have jointly published a report examining the relationship between IP activity and the growth prospects of European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).