Title: Innovation protection by SMEs: the case of the north east of the Netherlands

Authors: Mischa C. Mol, Enno Masurel

Addresses: School of Information Sciences, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, PO Box 8000GB Zwolle, the Netherlands. ' VU Center for Entrepreneurship, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract: SMEs do not own many patents. Although the reasons for not patenting have been the subject of much research, little is known on the alternatives that SMEs use. This article discusses a case study on the protection of innovations by SMEs by means of an analysis of the patent data and 20 interviews with owners or managers. This case study confirms the findings that SMEs do not own many patents, but adds to this that the SMEs that do own patents do not let them expire as much as bigger companies. The interviews showed that 65% of the respondents favoured other forms of protection, especially confidentiality clauses. The interviews also showed that age, type of innovation and R&D expenses influence the adoption of protective actions.

Keywords: innovation protection; patents; Netherlands; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; Holland; business owners; managers; patent ownership; confidentiality clauses; patent expiry; protective action; R&D expenses; research and development; Zwolle; Dutch Patent Office; patent registration; intellectual property management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIPM.2011.041080

International Journal of Intellectual Property Management, 2011 Vol.4 No.3, pp.153 - 164

Available online: 30 Jun 2011 *

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