A new study published by the European Patent Office (EPO) earlier this week finds that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) rely on European patents to protect their high-potential inventions and that two thirds of these inventions are commercially exploited.
The study, entitled “Market success for inventions – Patent commercialisation scoreboard: European SMEs”, finds that SMEs depend heavily on partnerships with domestic or foreign partners. The report shows that half of all commercialised inventions protected either by a European patent application or a granted European patent are exploited in collaboration with an external partner via a licencing agreement (62% of the respondents), co-operation (49%) or spin-off (32%). Moreover, the partner is usually from another European country. This reveals how resource-constrained SMEs use partnerships as a way of entering new markets or sharing the financial burden of innovation.
“SMEs are a key user group in the European IP system, creating new technologies, jobs and growth. And patents help them to protect their inventions,” says EPO President António Campinos. “Crucially, this new study demonstrates that SMEs are also using patents to commercialise their inventions, they are increasingly innovative with their IP strategies, and that there is tremendous untapped potential. Given the role that patents play in supporting our economy and bringing forward new technologies, efforts have to continue in finding ways to tackle successfully the challenges revealed in this study.”
Download the full study here.