"Lights along the way" - new report on SME's and IP

Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Patent Office has commissioned a study (In Norwegian) from Oxford Research and Leogriff revealing Norwegian small and medium- sized enterprises' ( SME's ) knowledge and utilization of intangible assets and property rights ( IPR ) and their challenges and needs. The background is the white paper on intellectual property and rights (Report to the Norwegian Parliament no. 28 , 2012) demanding better information and guidance service.

A questionnaire was answered by 3,871 Norwegian businesses with from one to 249 employees. Based on responses on innovation, exports and research and development activities they were grouped as " not relevant IPR , IPR something relevant , relevant IPR and IPR highly relevant ." The survey confirms that SMEs lack knowledge about IPR. Fewer than 10 percent of businesses have a person responsible for intellectual property rights that also receive training in this. Systematic training by an IPR Manager is lacking in most companies, even where the company has support from its directors for working with intangible values nd has placed responsibilities in the organization.

In 60 percent of businesses management or the board has discussed intellectual property, most of them in strategy documents and their business plan. Few have discussed whether they have freedom top operate - if they can avoid violating the rights of others. Cost and lack of time are important barriers to adopting IPR , to the greatest extent for the smallest businesses . The SMEs wish new services, and the study goes through areas such as the use of intellectual property to build reputation, advising on the development of a strategy for intellectual property and the design of legal agreements related to intellectual property. 45 percent say that they have or would greatly benefit from the training program or course.

23 percent of a sample of companies says they have considered licensing in rights, but only 14 percent have considered licensing out. Licensing and use of IPR in collaboration projects can be areas that should be developed for these businesses.

A group of businesses where IPR is relevant believes that IPR is not important. This group includes many younger firms in the service sector. They have a good understanding of IPR including management support, and may therefore be a suitable target for new services.