EPO launches a selection of SME case studies!

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Best practices for European SMEs to get the most out of patents

In a highly competitive business environment, Europe’s SMEs need to remain agile and responsive to market conditions. One way of doing this is to invest into R&D and build as well as maintain a strong intellectual property portfolio. But developing and fine-tuning IP strategies is not always easy, particularly for smaller entities, which often have limited resources.

A new publication by the European Patent Office provides concrete examples of how small businesses can use IP to their advantage. It not only illustrates the variety of approaches to using IP and their many advantages, but each study also contains a list of specific recommendations.

What you can learn from the 12 case studies:

-       how to align IP strategy to real business needs

-       the benefits of involving multiple company departments and external expertise in IP strategy definition

-       how to collaborate with universities and research organisations in early-stage research

-       why to make use of free patent information databases to conduct in-depth prior art searches early in the creative process

         before research begins

-       benefits of a strong IP portfolio  to attract investments

-       how to create strategic partnerships with global leaders and ensure a strong and steady market position with the help of

         own patents.

The publication also highlights the benefits that SMEs might expect from the planned Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court. These include savings in time and money, as well as greater legal certainty across the EU market.

We hope this publication will be useful for small and medium-sized companies and their advisors as they can benefit from the experiences and good practices described in the case studies to support their own development and growth.

You can download the studies here: epo.org/sme and please don’t forget to spread the word to anyone that might benefit from them as well.