Study on intellectual property rights and firm performance in Europe

The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), acting through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, carried out a study on the contribution of intellectual property rights at a company level.

The study is based on official public financial data and covers companies which own patents, trade marks and designs at both national and EU level.

The report of the study shows that SMEs owning intellectual property rights have a significantly higher economic performance due to the benefits associated with their ownership.

Further information and the full text of the study are available here.


EU and Latin America SMEs Intellectual property and Internationalisation study

On behalf of the European Commission - DG GROW, CARSA, in consortium with PwC Luxembourg, London Economics and Innova SpA, is conducting a survey among EU SMEs active in Latin America and Latin American SMEs regarding barriers and needs in the field of protection and enforcement of intellectual property.

If you are EU SMEs entering or active in Latin America or Latin American SMEs with EU business partners, you are strongly encouraged to fulfill the survey. Your contribution will be important to gather input, views and first-hand insights to better understand the process of internationalisation and protection of intellectual property rights in Latin America.

Completing the questionnaire should take only 5-10 minutes.

The survey is available here.

Intellectual property management in open innovation

During recent decades, the R&D field has witnessed a rise in technological complexity. This entails the presence of a pool of intellectual property (IP) rights within the most advanced products and services. Also considering that the number of patent filings increases steadily, companies therefore have to rely on third party IP rights to innovate.
A natural outcome of this multi-invention background is the need for companies to cooperate with other research and technology development performers (RTDs) in order to produce innovative solutions.
This fact sheet aims to highlight the importance of the open innovation model as an opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as for research and technology organisations (RTOs), and to highlight the issues to be taken into account for a proper management of IP when innovating through open approaches.
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Intellectual property and business plans

A business plan is a strategic document providing details on how a given innovation is going to be commercialised and brought to the market by an existing company or a newly created venture.

Since the scope of the business plan is to describe not only the business logic behind the commercialisation plans, but also the assets and resources that will make the business successful, the definition of a strong intellectual property (IP) protection and management policy and the business planning exercise are strongly interconnected.

First of all, the IP owned by or accessible to the company owners will strongly influence the business model chosen for operating on the market. Secondly, the business plan will typically refer to intellectual property (IP) and intellectual property rights (IPR)-protected elements to describe the company's unique specificities and the assets and resources that can be called upon for establishing win-win collaborations with clients, partners and investors. Finally, the comparison of those assets with the IPR owned or likely to be acquired by both clients and competitors are to be considered key indicators of the commercial viability of the business and should influence its strategic positioning inside the broader ecosystem.

IP should therefore be taken into consideration both when drafting the global strategy that will be described in the business plan and when actually writing the document itself.

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IP leverage for biotechnical innovations

Biotechnology is a field where technology advances rapidly. For this reason, it is vital for any company operating in this sector to protect the innovations that they generate with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

In this case study you can see the example of Keygene, an SME that has been able to reap the entire benefit from their intellectual property capital by setting an IP strategy from the outset in line with their core business and put it into operational phases via proper IP management.

Thanks to this IP awareness and the implementation and constant revision of the company’s IP strategy, Keygene is leading the agro-food biotech sector in the EU market. Furthermore, they succeeded in expanding their B2B activities, supplying their products to seeds companies worldwide.

Intellectual property considerations for medical devices

Medical devices have become increasingly important in society given their impact on the health sector and also in the economy.

According to the European Commission, in 2007 the medical device and diagnostics industry employed 529,000 people across Europe. With total sales of €72.6 billion, representing 33% of world market share (€219 billion), it is the second largest market after the USA. Moreover, this sector includes almost 11,000 companies, of which 80% are SMEs. The Commission estimates that in 2007 these companies invested €5.8 billion in Research and Development (R&D) (i.e. 8% of total sales).

Intellectual property (IP) is essential to protect these investments and therefore SMEs in this sector cannot afford not to manage their IP well. With this in mind, the European IPR Helpdesk has published a new fact sheet on the IP considerations for medical devices, which was written by Arty Rajendra and Mary Smillie, solicitors at Rouse Legal.

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Defending and enforcing IP

Starting from an overall understanding of the relevance of IP “from the idea to the market”, the aim of this new fact sheet is to point out that in order to enforce IP rights it is vital that organisations be aware of the intangible assets they own and take steps to protect and properly manage them. In so doing, organisations having IP as an underlying business asset will be less susceptible to IP abuses.

Should an IP right infringement occur it is suggested that alternative mechanisms to resolve disputes are explored and that, only when this is not a viable solution, you enforce your rights through legal proceedings.

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Intellectual Property considerations for business websites

A growing number of European SMEs are going online, by launching and maintaining business websites, often even providing their clients with the possibility to buy products online. As a central company asset, websites should be protected and well managed. Intellectual property is in this regard crucial, since there will be a number of intellectual property rights which exist in your website.

This fact sheet aims to guide you through the most important steps which you should take to protect the website that you intend to launch or have already launched, and avoid the risks of infringing the rights of others.

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Intellectual Property in biotechnology

Biotechnology is a field where technology advances rapidly but returns on investments may be slow. For this reason, it is important for public research organisations and enterprises to protect the innovation that they generate with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), which provide a basis for return on investment in research and development, by granting monopoly rights for a certain period of time to their owners.

This fact sheet gives a brief overview of:

  • The different forms of  IP that can be relevant in biotechnology, focussing more specifically on patents;
  • The role of biotechnology in innovation in Europe; and
  • How to use patent information for innovation indicators.

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Low cost branding protection with IP services support

The European Commission has set up specially developed services, provided by Enterprise Europe Network and the European IPR Helpdesk, to guarantee that SMEs and researchers can be provided with all the information and suggestions that are useful for managing international businesses and exploitable innovation.

This case study is an example of how the Enterprise Europe Network and the European IPR Helpdesk can work together to help the internationalisation of an European SME.

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