Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Enforcing small firms' patent rights

Funded under: FP5-INNOVATION-SME



This research reflects concern on the part of EU officials that patents are used less than they might be by small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Two causes of this were assumed to be difficulty in monitoring whether infringement was taking place, and fear of the cost of litigation to assert patent rights if it was. It was desired to measure both these aspects of SME patent use empirically. It was also thought that if cases could be discovered which showed that because of Court penalties, infringement did not pay, this could be publicised by the European Commission so as to deter infringes. Having established the scale of these problems, the research was then to try to establish the shape of a 'monitoring organisation' to deal with them.


Over 4000 SMEs were identified from every country in the European Union by the criterion of having obtained either a European or a United States patent or both, during the years 1994-1997 inclusive. Nearly 600 completed mail questionnaires were obtained from these firms, and telephone and/or personal interviews were carried out with a high proportion of their owners or managers. This work was done by Doctoral, MBA or other graduate students in the respective countries. ries.

Additional information

Authors: No authors provided, DG-Enterprise
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 17032 EN (2001), pp.89. Euro: 13.00
Availability: Available by EUR-OP Sales Agents.
ISBN: ISBN: 92-894-0633-X
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