This year the WIPO has announced that it will celebrate World Intellectual Property Day by honoring the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) of the world. Let’s take this opportunity to learn about the challenges that SMEs face; when it comes to intellectual property (IP) rights, especially patents and their management.
SMEs play a crucial role in the global economy in terms of generating income and employment opportunities. A World Bank study attributes about 90% of the global companies and 50% of the working force to SMEs. Encouraging innovation and creativity at SMEs is of extreme importance for global sustainability.
The Covid-19 crisis introduced new challenges to SMEs along with the plethora that they were already dealing. A study by Facebook, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank revealed that a vast majority of these companies had either closed their businesses or reported a significant decrease to their sales and revenues.
SMEs and start-ups that are focused on developing cutting-edge technologies face additional challenges. In most cases, they are developing technologies that are competing, either directly or indirectly, with existing established organizations with deep pockets and vast resources. Not only do start-ups have to struggle with the usual growing pains, but for them to make a global impact and generate revenue, patents are the only way to go. One of the first questions that start-ups are asked is, ‘Have you patented your idea?’ The first mover advantage in technology is undeniable.
SMEs, start-ups and patents
Beginning with filing a patent, SMEs and start-ups have a complicated system to navigate. They have to draft a high-quality patent, avoid office actions and file it in the art unit with the highest potential of getting a fast grant; just to increase the chances of receiving a patent. Without the right tools, this journey from drafting a patent to ultimately patenting their invention can be extremely difficult and may even end up without any positive results.
Drafting a high-quality patent that includes all the required information about the invention and has a higher chance of being granted, requires deep knowledge about the patenting process. For a company that doesn’t have competence in patenting, LexisNexis PatentOptimizer® is a great problem solver for US filings. The tool itself integrates seamlessly into your Microsoft Word application without taking you out of your drafting environment; and augments the drafting process. Be it generating an automated report containing a summary of the information within a draft and a list of possible errors in each section or retrieving relevant drafting information; you can do all that in one place using PatentOptimizer®.
The next step in this process, the filing of a patent application, can also be a difficult task for start-ups since there are many aspects of this process. Even something that may sound as simple as finding a reliable legal counsel who has experience representing similar technology, is easier said than done. Such information is rarely accessible or is presented in an understandable manner. For example, in the US, the art unit in which a patent is filed has a great influence on the chances for the patent being granted. So, insights into the type of art units that are relevant for one’s invention, that have observed a higher grant rate, would come handy while filing your patents. LexisNexis PatentAdvisor® can help you navigate this complicated path by providing you deep insights into the US patent granting process. Apart from many other use-cases, PatentAdvisor™ can help you find out which law firms have a higher performance in your specific technology. You can also estimate the chances of your patent being granted based on various factors related to your application.
While ensuring to have commercial power over its inventions with patents, SMEs and Start-ups always need to analyze the market to keep track on developments in their technology fields, identify possible partners and more importantly find prospects with vast resources who could commercialize their intellectual property assets. Simply studying publicly available patent data will not easily answer these questions. To ensure that your decisions are not biased based on incorrect data, you would need a reliable patent database that contains high-quality patent data. Also, you should be able to use valid patent quality metrics to study the players in the field to identify these prospects. Even if the SME or Start-up has only a small patent portfolio, it might have patents with great economic potential that would be interesting to a prospective investor. To gain a first idea, read about why Amazon decided to buy the AI-based self-driving start-up Zoox, in a multi-billion-dollar deal. Reliable quality metrics can reveal these patent gems and help SMEs and Start-ups document and prove the quality of their research and its results.
LexisNexis® PatentSight® offers a range of solutions to achieve this, you can perform your own analyses of the technology landscape using our a standalone solution, a robust analytical tool and a high-quality patent database; or we can discuss a more bespoke solution like individualized R&D Strategizing, Benchmarking and other consultation services.
As a Small or Medium Enterprise or Start-Up that is developing cutting edge technology to revolutionize the way we live, you only need to focus on innovative solutions for the problems of the world. LexisNexis® Intellectual Property Solutions has got you covered. We bring clarity to innovation.
We wish all innovators a happy World Intellectual Property Day! Keep on innovating!