Intellectual property (IP), including patents, industrial designs and trademarks, is an under-utilized business tool for small medium enterprises (SMEs). Regardless of company size, IP may be used to:
- Obtain financing
- Generate revenue through licensing opportunities
- Protect and/or expand market share
This is highlighted in the 2019 IP Canada Report from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office in the section entitled “[t]he impact of IP on financing and growth of small and medium enterprises” (https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/h_wr04682.html). In particular, the 2019 IP Canada Report summarized the results of ISED 2017 Survey on Financing and Growth of Small Medium Enterprises. The following points are of particular interest:
- While more than half of Canadian SMEs are aware of patents, very few have patents.
- The proportion of Canadian SMEs holding at least one patent increases as size of SMEs increases. In particular, 3% of SMEs having 20 to 99 employees hold at least one patent while 15% of SMEs having 100 to 499 employees hold at least one patent.
- Canadian SMEs aware of IP or holding formal IP obtained more financing as compared to SMEs not aware or not using IP.
- Canadian SMEs aware of IP or holding formal IP increased domestic and international market expansion as compared to SMEs not aware or not using IP.
- Canadian SMEs aware of IP or holding formal IP increased growth as compared to SMEs not aware or not using IP.
It is important to start a formal conversation about some forms of IP at the outset of your business, even if you don’t have the funds to invest in it right away. A strategy should be devised to plan for it in the future and allocate some budget to properly protect your IP. An intellectual property professional can help you determine what IP is appropriate for your business and how much to budget for it. Intellectual property, especially for start-ups or an SMEs, is considered to be one of its biggest business assets and as such should be treated with extreme care. An IP professional can help you maximize business opportunities out of your intellectual property if the right strategy is in place.
For more information please contact:
Kay Palmer, Senior Patent AgentT: 613.801.0452
This article is general information only and is not to be taken as legal or professional advice. This article does not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and MBM Intellectual Property Law LLP. If you would like more information about intellectual property, please feel free to reach out to MBM for a free consultation.
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