04 | 11 | 2019

EUIPO’s Studies of the Impact on Utilising Intellectual Property in Small and Medium Enterprises and on the Perceptions of Intellectual Property among Young in the European Union

Let us inform you about two new studies published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights.

The study titled “2019 Intellectual Property SME Scoreboard“, following up the 2016 study, indicates that the recent research shows that small and medium enterprises (hereinafter: the SMEs) employ two out of three employees of the European Union (hereinafter: the EU) and provide 57 % of added value within the EU. With regard to using intellectual property rights in business, it was shown that SMEs with registered intellectual property rights are 21 % more likely to experience a subsequent growth period and 10 % more likely to become a high-growth firm.

The goal of this study is to gain a better understanding of how EU SMEs perceive and use intellectual property rights in business and to compare new data with those of 2016. The research was conducted on a representative sample of enterprises in all 28 EU Member States. We will extract just a few of key findings of the study; 58 % of SMEs consider themselves innovative, and most innovation is in the development of new products. The most commonly used source of information for business development for IPR-owning SMEs is the internet (55 %), followed by national Chambers of Commerce (23 %) and attorneys and other legal professionals (22 %). Better understanding of all the benefits to the SMEs with utilising intellectual property in business results in more intense use of these rights; the main reasons that IPR-owning SMEs gave for registering IPRs were to prevent copying (59 %), to increase legal certainty (58 %) and to improve the image and value of the company (36 %). Improvement of negotiating position, licensing revenues, better chance of financing etc. are given among other reasons for registering IPRs.

On the other hand, the main reason for not registering their IPRs for as many as 38 % of subjects was a lack of knowledge about what intellectual property is and its benefits in business. It was also established that intellectual property rights are often seen by SMEs as a cost rather than an investment in the development of business, and only 25 % medium-sized and 20 % of small and micro-sized IPR owners have professionally valued their intangible assets.

The assessment of benefits in utilising intellectual property rights by subjects across the EU and from the Republic of Croatia as well can be seen in the related study available in its entirety via the following link.

The second study launched under the title: “2019 Intellectual Property and Youth Scoreboard” is a result of survey covering young people in the EU and their attitudes connected to intellectual property. The first study based on such research was published in 2016.

The 2019 study is based on repeating the same online survey of 2016 among young people aged 15 - 24 in the 28 EU Member States. The most noticeable aspect of the new research is that many of the results are very similar to those found in 2016. However, there are also some interesting early indications of a possible hope that young Europeans are raising awareness of the importance to respect copyright and related rights. An indicative finding is that there has been a decrease of 4 % in the proportion of young people in the EU who have intentionally accessed digital content, such as music, films and series, through illegal sources. A growth in subscription services to use this content (legal offer) made certainly a major contribution to these findings. Young are also becoming aware of certain risks to their computers, sometimes even their personal data, when accessing websites that offer films, series or music illegally. The study shows that 51 % of subjects claimed they did not use illegal sources to access digital copyrighted content in the last 12 months.

On the other hand, there was a slight increase in the number of young subjects from the EU (from 12 % to 13 %) who claimed to have intentionally bought counterfeit products online (industrial property rights infringing products) in the last 12 months.

There is an encouraging fact in Croatia recording the largest decline in the percentage of the number of intentional purchase of counterfeit goods online in this age group from all the EU Member States (minus 6 %, according to the data on p. 6 of the study) and a decline in the number of intentional accesses to illegal websites offering copyrighted content (minus 5 %, according to the data on p. 4 of the study), compared to the results from the previous research by the EUIPO. Still, according to the data on p. 28 of the study, as well as some other indicators for Croatia, it may be concluded that further effort is needed in educating children and young people in Croatia concerning the importance of protection and respect of intellectual property rights.

The entire study is available via the following link.

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