Intellectual Property Awareness to Empower SMEs: Navigating Opportunities for Innovation and Sustainable Growth

  • DIGITAL SME launched the IPowerSMEs project to raise awareness on the importance of IPR among SMEs

  • In Europe, only 10 % of SMEs report that they own registered IPRs, and 93 % of SMEs that have registered IPRs have seen a positive impact resulting from that registration

  • IPowerSMEs will offer novel SME-focused communication and awareness channels, tools and activities

Intellectual Property (IP) is an instrument intricately woven with the fabric of innovation. From the starting stages and throughout a business’s life cycle, it serves as a safeguard for a company’s innovations, offering legal protection for its intangible assets. Beyond its protective function, IP allows the IP owner to prohibit unauthorized replication, execution, or distribution of their creations. Furthermore, IP functions as a strategic mechanism, enabling companies to disseminate their solutions and engage in collaborations with a diminished risk of misappropriation.  The ability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to embrace intellectual property and all it represents, as they continue to evolve and innovate, will be key to the economic future of many industries and countries.

The findings from the EUIPO Intellectual Property SME Scoreboard 2022 shed light on the current state of intellectual property registration among SMEs in Europe. While only 10% of SMEs  have opted to register their IP, a significant 93% of those SMEs who did register their Intellectual Property Rights reported experiencing a positive impact resulting from the registration. However, a deeper dive into the reasons for non-registration unveils several barriers. A substantial 35% of SMEs cited a lack of perceived additional benefits as the primary deterrent. Furthermore, 20% hesitated due to the belief that their intellectual assets were not innovative enough for registration, while 19% faced obstacles due to insufficient knowledge, and another 19% cited the inability to meet registration requirements.

To support small businesses to navigate the complexity of IPRs, DIGITAL SME Alliance – with the support of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) – launched the IPowerSMEs project, to raise awareness of the importance of IPR among SMEs, and to provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge to protect their innovations and thus maintain a sustainable business model.

During the next year, a number of activities will be organized to increase the community of SMEs that can benefit from the expertise of experts and other enterprises knowledgeable in IPR protection. A series of resources will be developed and made available to SMEs, and a wide network of new partners and organizations will be engaged to support small businesses across Europe.

Kicking off this project, DIGITAL SME Alliance launches two open calls:

  • a Call for experts in the field of Intellectual Property Rights to contribute to the development of a comprehensive guide tailored for SMEs. The call will be open between 1st of December 2023 until 5th of January 2024. Details and application form here. 
  • a Call for SMEs to submit their Best Practices on Intellectual Property. The submissions received will be integrated in a catalogue of best practices, a comprehensive resource that empowers small businesses to navigate in the dynamic world of Intellectual Property. Details and submission form here

For more information, please contact Loredana Bucseneanu (l.bucseneanu@digitalsme.eu).

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