4iP News

IP is for everyone

07 September 2015

Owners of IP rights perform better no matter their size

Ownership of IPRs, specifically patents, trade marks and designs, is strongly associated with improved economic performance at the level of the individual company. This association is especially strong in the case of SMEs. This is the conclusion researchers at OHIM[1] recently drew from a newly constructed dataset, which is significantly larger than any other data source of this type currently available.

Key findings:

  • Revenue per employee for owners of IPRs (patents, trade marks and/or designs, national and/or European) is 28.6 per cent higher than for non-owners of IPRs. For patent owner this IPR “revenue premium” is 25.7 per cent.
  • IPR owners on average employ almost six times as many employees as non-owners. Also, wages paid by IPR owners are almost 20 per cent higher than by firms that do not own IPRs. In this case, the “wage premium” is highest for patents at 40.6 per cent.
  • SMEs that own IPRs have almost 32 per cent higher revenue per employee than SMEs that do not own IPRs at all. Thus, while the majority of SMEs in Europe do not own IPRs, those that do own IPRs have significantly higher revenue per employee.

The study also notes a change in the use of IPRs during recent decades.

“IPRs are no longer perceived merely as tools that reward creativity and inventiveness, deter imitation and secure the reputation of a company’s products and services. Beyond their traditional function, IPRs provide companies with new opportunities to reap the benefits of their original works and adequately monetise their intellectual property. IPRs have become flexible instruments that provide firms with an array of strategic options. Firms can for example decide to open up IPRs for use by others through licensing programmes or through research & development joint ventures, thus creating valuable economic activity.

“This meticulous study which assesses the performance of over 130,000 European firms, shows the role of creativity and innovation in our society and the benefit of Europe’s strong intellectual property system,” said Guido Von Scheffer, Managing Director, 4iP Council.


[1] Office of Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market