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Industrial competitiveness

Making IPR work for SMEs - Expert Group Report

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) can be a vital competitive advantage for small and medium sized European businesses. Their competitiveness, creativity and innovative abilities are threatened by counterfeiting, piracy and uncertainty about enforcing their rights.

Small and medium enterprises are particularly vulnerable to these risks. They often lack resources and knowledge to act against fake products or are convinced it is impossible to do so.

Support for IPR enforcement is rather patchy and, at present, far less developed than support for general awareness of IPR. The current economic situation makes action in this field even more urgent. The health and safety of customers, state tax revenues, employment and even the existence of firms are endangered by counterfeiting and piracy.

This report is based on the work of the expert group of the Best practice project (January 2008 - April 2009). It contains recommendations on how to improve IPR enforcement support measures for SMEs and provides a description of a complete set of such support measures. It serves businesses and governments to develop better support measures, to help our SMEs to flourish and use their full creative and innovative potential. The report was discussed at the conference " Making IPR work for SMEs" on the 27th of April 2009.

This report was a continuation of the work started in the study completed for DG Enterprise and Industry in 2007.

The report is supplemented by annex B containing case studies of Best practices that illustrate the recommendations of the report (table linking the two is in annex A) and allow followers to design effective support measures in their countries, regions and organisations.

A further complete inventory of IPR enforcement support measures follows in annex C. It is possible to identify existing support measures in your Member State. This list will be made interactive and will continue to be updated on the Innovaccess website.

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