A recent study by the European Patent Office shows that innovative European SMEs use patents not only to protect their most valuable inventions, but also to expand their markets and increase their commercial margins.
The study, which analyses European patents filed between 2008 and 2018 by 1140 European SMEs from various profiles and sectors, shows that two thirds of the patents of these companies are commercially exploited and half of them are exploited in collaboration with an external partner through a licensing agreement, cooperation agreements or through the creation of a new company or spin-off.
Thus, among the reasons given by the analysed SMEs to forge alliances with external partners through patents are:
- To increase profits.
- Accessing new markets.
- Collaborative innovation.
- Outsourcing of production.
- Agreements on Intellectual Property infringement.
In almost half of the cases, the partner is a company from another European country.
Among the challenges faced by innovative European SMEs in establishing international collaborations, the study highlights the scarce or limited availability of Intellectual Property knowledge, as well as the lack of resources and business contacts outside their borders.
Finally, the study also highlights the use of patents to attract investment.