Sunday, 14 December 2008

1 in 3 entrepreneurs unlikely to legally protect their Intellectual Property

More research results from i2m's study into entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses:

• 29% do not intend to protect to protect their Intellectual Property at all
• The single most popular method of protection is an international patent
• Just 4% do not know which protection methods, if any, they intend to use

i2m surveyed over 800 budding entrepreneurs and small business owners over the course of 2008, investigating their standing and attitudes in a number of key areas including: finance, market research, sales and marketing and business exploitation.
Participants were asked how they intended to protect their Intellectual Property. The most popular response with 29% of respondents was “no protection at all”. In selecting this option, 29% participants are ignoring the numerous basic ways of protecting themselves such as claiming copyright and design rights for their work. These methods however were selected by 23% of participants with a further 18% selecting them in combination with other methods.

24% of participants intended to seek an international patent, making it the single most popular method of protection in the study. Only 4% did not know which protection methods, if any, they intend to use, suggesting that this is a business subject that most people are aware of and have an opinion on.

Businesses, especially those looking to patent, should look at protecting their intellectual property as an economic decision, weighing up the costs of not protecting themselves against competitors, versus the legal cost associated with protection and the return on investment it may bring.

Jane Lambert, intellectual property specialist counsel of NIPC, noted that these figures were consistent with many similar surveys and they are not in the least bit surprising. “The problem is that the cost of enforcement of intellectual property rights is prohibitive in England and Wales. According to the government’s own Intellectual Property Advisory Committee, the average cost of bringing an infringement claim to trial is £150,000 to £250,000 in the Patents County Court and £1 million plus in the High Court compared to around €50,000 in France, Germany or the Netherlands. That no doubt explains why the UK (the country that started the industrial revolution) lags consistently behind not only the USA, Germany, Japan and France in the number of European patent applications but even the Netherlands and Switzerland which have a third and an eighth of our population respectively. It is often said that businesspeople do not fully understand the intellectual property system. These results indicate that they understand it only too well.”

A full set of i2m’s research results will be published later this year. For more details please contact me at

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