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Intellectual Assets and Innovation

The SME Dimension

image of Intellectual Assets and Innovation

Intellectual Property Rights can be instrumental for SMEs to protect and build on their innovations; position themselves competitively vis-à-vis larger enterprises in global markets; gain access to revenues; signal current and prospective value to investors, competitors and partners; access knowledge markets and networks; open up new commercial pathways; or segment existing markets.  However, while there is increasing recognition of their significance, as well as  the need for appropriate intellectual asset management for SMEs across OECD countries, there are few regulatory frameworks or specific instruments directed to SMEs. This is in part due the pace of technological innovation, which often exceeds the time it takes for policy makers to create appropriate responses to the changing landscape of intellectual property.   This study explores the relations between SME intellectual asset management, innovation and competitiveness in different national and sectoral contexts. It provides insights on the ability of SMEs to access and utilise the protection systems available to them and identifies key challenges for SMEs in appropriating full value from IPRs. It also investigates effectiveness of regulatory frameworks and policy measures to support SME access to IPRs, identifying best practices and proposing policy recommendations

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United Kingdom: Intellectual Asset Management Strategies for Diverse Innovations

Evidence from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the United Kingdom information and communication (ICT) sector shows that firms adopt a wide range of intellectual property (IP) governance mechanisms, combining proprietary IP, such as patents, copyright and trademarks, with softer strategies such as open source and the exchange of non-protected technology. The variety of approaches in the ICT sector reflects differences in product/service specialisation and internationalisation strategies, and IP value seeking objectives. These are mainly related to finance, innovation, strategic relationships and competitiveness. On the basis of an extensive survey, expert interviews and indepth case studies of SMEs, the chapter highlights differences in strategies by firm size: formal IP (patents and copyright) is used relatively more by medium sized and large firms, whereas micro and small firms are relatively more active in open source communities and in trading technology with no patent protection. Metrics used for measuring innovation and the performance of intellectual asset management in SMEs should reflect this variety of approaches. The chapter comments on institutional market failures, on the policy responses and extensive reforms promoted by the United Kingdom government, and present the case for flexible and ’neutral’ IP policies for SMEs in the ICT sector.

English

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