Features

The European patent market – where should investors look next?

By Anders Arvidsson, Keith Woomer and Lucia Alvarado

A growing number of patent owners in the European Union probably have the potential to monetise their patents – but do they know the best way to go about this?

Today, most large EU companies within the high-tech sector – including Nokia, Ericsson and Philips – are already actively monetising their patent portfolios. However, when it comes to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), it becomes more difficult to track patent transactions. This could be because transactions fall under the radar or are too small to attract attention. However, it could also be because EU SMEs are not considering the opportunity to monetise their patents, but merely using them as an exclusive right against their peers. According to EU figures, 99.8% of all enterprises in the non-financial business sector in 2014 were SMEs – it would be logical to assume that many of these SMEs also own patents which could be monetised. This article tests this assumption in order to better understand what opportunities SMEs may have to monetise their patents and why they do not appear to have been active in the patent marketplace so far.

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