How SMEs Exploit Their Intellectual Property Assets: Evidence from Survey Data
Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 20/10
Date: December 2010
This paper seeks to understand how motives to patent affect the use of the patent portfolio with a particular focus on motives aimed at the monetization of intellectual property (IP). The analysis relies on data from an international survey conducted by the European Patent Office (EPO). The main results can be summarized as follows. First, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) exhibit a much stronger reliance on ‘monetary patents’ than large companies and nearly half of the SMEs in the sample patent for monetary reasons. Second, SMEs tend to use their patents more actively than large firms. Third, smaller companies generally have a higher proportion of their portfolio that is licensed but the licensing rate is significantly higher in the U.S. An American SME is twice as likely as a European SME to have a high share of its portfolio that is actually licensed, witnessing a fragmented market for technology in Europe.