The EPO has published a set of 12 case studies focusing on how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe are using patents to their advantage.
The publication aims to raise awareness among SMEs of the importance of patents, and to help them use the experiences and good practices of the companies described in the case studies to support their own development and growth.
"SMEs are the backbone of the European economy, and they account for nearly a third of all patent applications at the EPO," says EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "These case studies demonstrate that patents can be a springboard for success for smaller companies and make all the difference to their business, especially in gaining access to funding. They provide concrete examples of how intellectual property can be leveraged by companies to create value, jobs and growth."
The studies, based on extensive interviews with senior managers, showcase SMEs from 11 different countries across Europe. The companies are active in a wide range of industries, from medical technology and biotech to ICT, energy and the environment, and employ different business models.
Providing detailed information and recommendations, the studies illustrate how companies can proactively adapt their IP strategy to real business needs by taking a holistic approach to IP management, involving IP specialists and making use of patent information.
They also highlight the benefits that SMEs can expect from the planned Unitary Patent. These include savings in time and money, as well as increased legal certainty across the EU market.