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New EPO and EUIPO study highlights significantly improved economic performance for SME companies that own IP rights

17 February

3 mins

In early February, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) released a new study investigating the relationship between ownership of intellectual property rights (IPRs) and economic performance of firms in the EU and UK.

The study found that companies which own at least one patent, registered design or trade mark generate 55% higher revenue per employee than companies that do not own IPRs.

Patent ownership was found to show the strongest link to a company’s performance in terms of individual IPRs, demonstrating an average 36% boost in revenue per employee and 53% higher employee wages.

However, the highest revenue-per-employee gains were found to be linked to ownership of multiple types of IPRs. Trade mark and design owners saw performance premiums of 63%, and combined patent, trade mark, and design owners saw a 60% increase in revenue per employee.

Interestingly, the report highlighted the particular advantage of IP ownership for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Although fewer than 9% of SMEs analysed rely on IPRs, those that do were found to generate a 68% higher revenue per employee than SMEs without an IP portfolio. This finding uncovers the significant potential for SMEs to tap into substantial revenue growth by investing in their IP portfolios.

The report concluded that ownership of IPRs is strongly associated with improved economic performance at the individual firm level, and that this positive relationship is particularly strong for SMEs. This echoes the vision set out in the EPO Strategic Plan 2023 and the EUIPO Strategic Plan 2025 to provide enhanced support for innovative SMEs to access IPRs.

The study, covering the period from 2007 to 2019, analysed a large representative sample of over 127,000 European firms, including companies from all 27 EU Member States and the UK. Ownership of patents, trade marks and registered designs were considered, including both European and national rights.

For more information, find the full report here.

Written by: Jessie Harrison