The failure to create a unitary European patent is holding SMEs back

SMEs that are driving ICT innovation in Europe are suffering from the failure to create a unitary patent.

Innovation is risky, so tech businesses require an environment that encourages them to take these risks. SMEs need a regulatory framework that provides them with flexibility and enables them to grow.

At present, entrepreneurs are forced to apply for several patents to protect the IP of their business. One way that the European Union can support SMEs would be to settle the long awaited ‘unitary’ patent.

An EU patent validated in 13 countries costs as much as £16,000, of which £11,100 for translation. This makes an EU Patent more than 10 times more expensive than an American patent that costs about £1,460.

There is a common belief that protecting IP only favors large organizations, however, in reality, it is SMEs that value the IP system the most. This is due to the role it plays in access to capital and business development.

Patents can also serve as leverage – A strong patent allows SMEs to protect their inventions/IP from competitors who would otherwise exploit their ideas.

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