The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have published a joint study investigating the link between intellectual property rights and business performance. This builds on the EUIPO’s previous report from 2015. It analyses the performance of 127,000 European firms throughout the 27 member states of the EU, as well as in the UK, over the years of 2007-2019.
The study confirmed an increased revenue per employee for firms that owned intellectual property rights compared to those that do not. The greatest effect was demonstrated for owning at least one patent (36% increase), followed by owning at least one design registration (32% increase), and then owning at least one trade mark (21% increase).
The report has attempted to isolate the observed increase from factors such as size of firm and the countries and sectors in which the firm operates. Based on this analysis, it was found that the positive association was a 55% increase in revenue per employee for intellectual property right owners compared to non-owners.
The report paid particular attention to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up the vast majority of European firms. It found that the intellectual property ownership ‘bonus’ for SMEs was a 68% increase in revenue per employee. This can be contrasted to an 18% ‘bonus’ that existed for large companies. This was noted as further justification for raising awareness of intellectual property ownership amongst SMEs where only 9% own at least one patent, design registration, or trade mark.
As a final piece of information for anyone in the job market, intellectual property owners were found to pay on average 19% more compared to non-owners, with a sizeable increase of 53% when that intellectual property right was a patent – It may be worth investigating a prospective employer’s intellectual property portfolio before accepting that job offer!
The report admits that the study is not capable of extracting the numerous factors that could be behind these correlations. However, the results support the existence of a positive cycle of intellectual property ownership and business growth, demonstrating that time spent protecting your intellectual property assets could be time well spent.