EUIPO and EPO have carried out a study examining the link between the use of intellectual property and growth opportunities for European small and medium-sized enterprises


2020 11 18


EUIPO together with EPO have released a new study showing that companies that hold patents or other forms of intellectual property rights (IPR) are more likely to grow and experience high growth than those who do not.

It focuses on the concept of high-growth firms (HGFs), i.e. SMEs experiencing an annual growth of at least 20% for at least three consecutive years. HGFs are a priority target for the European Commission and many member states. They are typically driven by innovation and focused on scaling up their activities at the international level.

Formal intellectual property rights (IPRs) such as patents, trade marks and industrial designs can be instrumental for these innovative SMEs to appropriate the value of their ideas and secure a return on their investments in intangible assets. Small businesses can leverage IPRs to secure higher margins, license technology, establish collaboration agreements and attract investors.

SMEs represent 99% of all businesses in the European Union (EU), and contribute 57% of the EU’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, a large proportion of the value generated by SMEs comes from a small number of high growth firms (HGFs), which are often very innovative.

This study draws on a rich dataset linking demographic information on European SMEs in manufacturing industries from 2005 to 2010 with data stored in the national and European registers for patents, trade marks and industrial design rights.

The main findings can be found in the full version of the analysis.