IP Outreach Research > IP Use and Awareness


Title: Study: "Effects of counterfeiting on EU SMEs and a review of various public and private IPR enforcement initiatives and resources"
Author: Simon Rodwell [Hunter Rodwell Consulting], Philippe Van Eeckhout [Contratak S.A.S.], Alasdair Reid and Jacek Walendowski [Technopolis]

European Commission

Year: 2007


Subject/Type: IP Protection
Focus: Commercialisation, Enforcement, Patents
Country/Territory: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
Objective: To analyse whether and how EU-based SMEs protect their intellectual property assets.
Sample: 155 small and medium-sized enterprises based throughout the EU
Methodology: Online survey

Main Findings

More than half (55%) of the EU-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have registered their trademarks. However, 60% have not registered their patents, and about 70% have not registered their designs.

Internationally, most of the survey respondents have filed their patents for the United States (29%), Japan (25%), and then China (22%). When it comes to international marks registration, 33% have registered them in the US, 29% in China, and 27% in Japan.

Companies in the toy sector are most likely to register their intellectual property (IP) rights (67%), followed by “other” sectors (35%), the automotive parts sector (33%), mechanical engineering (30%), and textiles and clothing (18%).

When asked about internal company measures and external IP assistance, almost a third of respondents (31%) state that they involve staff in policing intellectual property rights (IPR); 25% rely on staff education and training; 23% carry out IP risk assessments of markets and sources; and 22% include clauses in employee contracts. Just 9% indicate that they used an in-house legal team. 38% have undertaken civil procedures against infringers. More than 20% report taking no action at all.

SME business strategy measures to protect IP include: “designing product or service to minimise risk of abuse” (23%), “retaining critical design activities in home country” (22%), and “combating reverse engineering through technological advances and techniques” (10%).

[Date Added: Nov 20, 2008 ]