Do we need patents?

This question is being asked more and more frequently, especially in medium-sized companies. 

It is well known that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the European economy; they employ two out of three employees and generate 57% of GDP in the EU.

European SMEs are almost exclusively dominated by owner-operators. This means that not only company ownership and management, but also the design of innovation processes are in one hand. 

As independent patent attorneys, a particular focus of our work is on advising small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on their intellectual property rights strategy.  

However, the picture for growth in the SME sector is twofold: The main part is only provided by a small part of these companies. These high-growth companies are the future of the European economy; some of them will be the European champions of tomorrow. 

The EPO’s and EUIPO’s studies show impressively that the use of patents correlates strongly with a higher growth of the company. In the high-tech sector, for example, the probability that an SME will show high growth is 110% higher for SMEs with patent experience than for SMEs without such experience. This may not come as a surprise for high-tech firms. However, this is all the more true for firms that are not in the high-tech sector: The correlation here is even higher at +172%!

The full study and an executive summary can be found at this link:$FILE/high_growth_firms_study_en.pdf

Thilo Schwöbel
Diplom-Physiker (roughly equivalent to an MSc in Physics), Ingénieur diplômé (ENSPG)
German and European Patent and Trademark Attorney, Diplômé CEIPI