Patents
Posted on 26/11/2020 by Henry Shine

Digital SMEs set for a boost after partnership with the EUIPO announced

A partnership has been announced to encourage SMEs to maximise their intellectual property.

The European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Digital SME alliance have announced a partnership to help encourage SMEs to make the most of their intellectual property (IP) and realise the benefits of pro-active IP management.

The European Digital SME Alliance represents 20,000 digital SMEs from EU member states and neighbouring countries, and aims to promote the interests of these SMEs within the EU as well as providing tools for them to succeed.

Innovation is at the heart of many SMEs and can be crucial to their future success, particularly for SMEs in the digital space.  However, if this innovation is not adequately protected, the benefits of it may not be fully realised.

The partnership therefore aims to set-up joint initiatives that will foster improved appreciation and adoption of IP rights such as patents, designs and trade marks among SMEs operating in the EU.  This will be delivered through training initiatives and guides co-developed by the EUIPO and the Digital SME alliance, among other things.

This partnership is part of a wider SME strategic plan by the EUIPO to increase awareness of IP among SMEs after a study by the EUIPO found that SMEs that had filed at least one application for an IP right were 21% more likely to experience growth and 10% more likely to be classified as a high growth firm.

The study also reports that tech-based SMEs with a prior European patent filing are more than twice as likely to be classified as high-growth, and certain consumer-orientated industries were 62% more likely to be high-growth if they had prior use of a European trade mark.  This demonstrates the strong connection between registered IP rights and success in different types of SMEs.  However, the study also shows that a careful and targeted IP strategy tailored to an SMEs industry and circumstances is needed to obtain the most cost-effective benefits.

Last year we reported on a study conducted by the European Patent Office (EPO) into usage of the European patent system by SMEs.  The continued focus on SMEs by both the EPO and EUIPO is welcome given the resources available for these types of companies are limited.

If you are part of an SME that has yet to realise the potential of your intellectual property the EUIPO have a learning area on their website to help you get to grips with the types of protection available.  The EPO also has a series of case studies on their website to give a flavour of how patents have been used by SMEs.

At Wilson Gunn we have extensive experience helping SMEs to realise the potential of their IP through cost-effective use of the various IP rights available.  Please take a look at our IP Basics resource for more advice and information on all aspects of intellectual property.

If you have any questions, or feel you are ready for more tailored advice, please get in touch with one of our team.