Intellectual Property SME Scoreboards
SMEs need help to understand the IP landscape and know where they can get finance; easier paths to registration of the most appropriate and accessible rights; help with other tools such as domain names or trade secrets; and assistance to combat infringement
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the EU’s economy. They employ two out of every three workers and provide 57% of added value within the EU. However, it is estimated that only around 30-60 % of SMEs survive beyond 5 years of trading. To help the EU economy, SMEs need support to bridge this period, and innovation is one of the core reasons for businesses surviving and growing.
Innovation allows small businesses to strengthen and grow, and to employ more people, which will ultimately lead to a larger and stronger EU economy. Intellectual property (IP) plays a vital role in promoting innovation as it provides those who invest time, effort and money in innovation with a mechanism to protect and benefit from it.
Against this background, the EUIPO has released the IP SME Scoreboard series of reports, to provide insight into why SMEs do or do not register intellectual property rights, and what problems they encounter in doing so. These reports represent an up to date and relevant evidence base for decision makers through which they can design policies to support SMEs.
Intellectual Property SME Scoreboard 2019
After registering their IP rights, 54 % of owners claimed to have seen a positive impact. The main impacts identified were an increase in reputation (52 %), turnover (39 %) and ability to access new markets (37 %).
For those SMEs without registered intellectual property rights, the main reason for not registering was a lack of knowledge about what IP is and its benefits. The percentage giving this reason has grown from 25 % in 2016 to 38 % in 2019.
Only 25 % of medium-sized IPR owners have professionally valued their intangible assets, and this drops to 20 % for both small and micro-sized IPR owners.
Although access to finance is one of the biggest issues for SMEs, only 13 % of IPR owners have attempted to gain finance using their intangible assets.
Who is behind the study?
The report was commissioned by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) from KPMG Spain
The fieldwork consisted of a survey conducted with SMEs in the 28 Member States of the EU.
Intellectual Property SME Scoreboard 2016
- The majority of SMEs that registered an IPR believed that it had either a ‘very positive' (13%) or ‘positive' (47%) impact on their business; 36% declared that it had no impact.
- Internet domain names and confidentiality (trade secrets) are the most important protection measures. Trade marks, notably national trade marks, come in third place.
- The main reasons motivating SMEs to register an IPR are to prevent copying, to gain better legal certainty, and to increase their value and improve their image.
- The main reasons for not registering an IPR are that SMEs do not consider their intellectual assets innovative enough, they lack knowledge and either see no benefits in registering or do not meet the requirements to do so.
- Altogether, 31% of SMEs that use IPR have suffered from IPR infringement, of which micro SMEs feel the negative impact more than larger SMEs do.
- 12% of SMEs that suffered from infringement do not take any actions against infringement and 43% choose bilateral negotiations, followed by 33% that initiate court procedures.
- Three main areas are indicated by SMEs who do not take any measures to protect their innovation when asked about the reason of lack of protection:
- Lack of knowledge/information;
- Complex and costly registration procedures, and;
- Complex and costly court procedures in IPR infringement cases.
Who is behind the study?
The report was commissioned by EUIPO, through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, and was carried out by GFK, a market research firm specialised in evaluating public opinion.
The fieldwork took place in each of the 28 EU Member States, with a total of 8 970 telephone interviews between June and September 2015; SMEs could also choose to complete the survey online if they preferred.
The sampling approach used aimed to achieve a sufficient number of interviews with SMEs that had registered an IPR and those that had not, while ensuring a spread of interviews across company size and sector. A sample of SMEs was selected using the Orbis database and matched with the EUIPO and EPO databases of companies that had registered IPRs, in order to identify companies with and without IPR use in advance. This method allowed the specific targeting of companies across company size and IPR use. This enabled the analysis to consider a larger sample of SMEs that had registered an IPR than is found in the general population of SMEs.