SME case studies

The European Patent Office (EPO), in close collaboration with renowned IP experts, has published a set of twelve case studies on a range of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from across Europe.

The studies show how companies can proactively adapt their IP strategy to real business needs, and illustrate the variety of approaches to and advantages of using IP. They also highlight the benefits that SMEs can expect from the planned Unitary Patent. This reform will offer businesses a simpler alternative to the existing system, and introduce a more cost-effective route to broad and uniform patent protection and dispute resolution throughout the participating EU member states.

For further information on this publication and to download the case studies, visit the EPO's website here.

Guide: Successful collaboration between companies and research institutes

Luxinnovation, an organisation that contributes to the economic development of Luxembourg by fostering innovation, fuelling international growth and attracting foreign direct investment, has developed a guide, together with:

  • IPIL (Institut de la Propriété Intellectuelle Luxembourg)
  • FNR (Luxembourg National Research Fund), and
  • the Luxembourguish Ministry of Economy

on how to succeed with public-private R&D collaboration and what it takes to start that kind of collaboration. The guide focuses on collaborative research and how to find the right R&D partner. It also provides an overview of available funding.

Learn more about this guide and download it, here.

TNtech: The ABC of IP strategy for a small R&D company

Transforming the results of R&D into commercially viable products is a business challenge that must be carried out in conformity with a coherent IP strategy. Such a strategy helps save time and resources. Additionally, a sound IP strategy is a key element in avoiding and fighting against infringement and unfair competition practices carried out by competitors. 

In this new case study, TNtech, a Slovakian SME, tells us about the main measures adopted within the framework of its IP strategy and shares some useful advice with us. 

Commission to invest € 97 million to help 64 small businesses bring their innovations to the market

The European Commission has selected 64 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) from 16 countries for funding in the latest round of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2. 

Funding under Phase 2 of the instrument allows companies to invest in innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, piloting, scaling up and miniaturisation, in addition to developing a mature business plan for their product.

Find out more about the most successful companies selected for funding and some other interesting figures here

EUIPO study: "Protecting Innovation Through Trade Secrets and Patents: Determinants for European Union Firms"

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, has recently released an EU-wide study entitled "Protecting Innovation Through Trade Secrets and Patents: Determinants for European Union Firms".

This study uses data from the Community Innovation Survey for 24 Member States, which examines the economic importance of trade secrets and their relationship with patents.

Three main findings emerge from this study :

  • The use of trade secrets is higher than the use of patents for most types of companies (although it is particularly prevalent among SMEs), in most economic sectors and in all Member States.
  • Market novelty and innovation in tangible goods are associated with a preference for patents while process and service innovations are more often protected through secrecy.
  • There is complementarity between the use of trade secrets and patents—many companies use both methods to protect their innovations.

These results will provide a basis for policy-makers and companies to further develop policies in this area following the adoption of the Trade Secrets Directive in 2016.

Atarés Mosaics: International market selection and IP as a differentiation value

You have a patentable technology and a business ready for international expansion? Get inspired by Atarés Mosaics' internationalisation strategy and learn about the steps to be followed to ensure that your technology is protected in a commercially efficient manner. 

 

Trade secrets: An efficient tool for competitiveness

A trade secret is confidential information in the context of business, commerce or trade. Trade secrets often constitute valuable resources to many companies whose assets may, for instance, not be patentable but have a great commercial value and therefore need to be protected.

This fact sheet illustrates the importance of trade secrets for businesses and provides insight into trade secret protection, which could prove beneficial in particular to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

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Intellectual property management at trade fairs

Trade fairs and exhibitions are very important marketing tools for companies, in particular for SMEs. They help to attract new customers, test products, access new markets, raise the image, profile and popularity of a company or product, and enhance competitiveness.

While, trade fairs can facilitate intellectual property (IP) infringements, they can also help IP owners detect such infringements. Therefore, exhibitors must be aware of all the IP issues that can arise in the context of trade fairs and take appropriate measures before, during and after the show.

Learn all about it in this fact sheet. 

The European IPR Helpdesk has also published a leaflet on "IP management at trade fairs", downloadable here.

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Koalect: Trade mark conflicts and the importance of prior searches

Finding the right name for your company and the products you sell is not an easy task. Not only do you need to be creative but also you must avoid infringing your competitors' rights over their trade marks. Avoiding infringement is even more important when you are at an early stage in the development of your new business. Time and economic resources are usually scarce when a company is being launched and you will want to invest them in something other than litigation. This is why performing a prior trade mark search before starting to operate a business under a certain name or brand is an essential task we must not overlook. 

To illustrate the issues that can arise in this situation, Koalect, a successful Belgian start-up, tells us their story in this new case study.

 

European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin Issue (24)

We are pleased to inform you that Issue 24 of the European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin has been published and is now available online.

This Bulletin issue is largely dedicated to trade marks and their importance for businesses.

An article from WIPO explains the different ways to obtain trade mark protection and a contribution from the EUIPO provides several updates on the EUTM regime and other relevant issues regarding, inter alia, enforcement. 

EUIPO's EU Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property provides some valuable information regarding two useful databases aimed at tackling IP infringements.

INTA reveals the basics of trade names in its article, and our interview with Design and Engineering Company reflects the importance of trade marks for SMEs and their management. 

As always, the Bulletin reports information about past IPR events together with some fresh news on the Helpline service. In addition, it contains the usual patent quiz and our brand new trade mark soup.

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