SMEs struggling to protect Intellectual Property
One in four firms operating in the UK's knowledge-based economy has suffered a breach of intellectual property rights in the last five years, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Its research suggests that small firms are potentially having to forgo growth and innovation as they pour valuable resources into protecting intellectual property such as patents, branding and product designs.
FSB's study illustrates how important identity and ideas are to a firm's bottom line, with almost one in three (30%) of the small businesses surveyed that own some form of intellectual property rights stating they are dependent on it for 75 to 100% of their revenue.
As such, infringements of these rights can not only be extremely damaging to the small businesses themselves, but to the UK economy as a whole, says John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.
"The knowledge economy, which runs on innovative ideas and brands, is becoming ever more critical to our economic success," he said.
Left unprotected, infringement of ideas, patents and brand can cost small businesses a small fortune, Allan added – which can curtail their appetite to invest revenues back into the company.
Martin Brassell, CEO of Inngot and co-author of a recent government report on intellectual property, said it is little surprise that a breach can cause small firms to retreat, as intellectual property and intangibles drive every knowledge-based company.
"This is why companies need simple and cost-effective ways to identify important assets, recognise their value and manage their rights," he added.