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Technology development in the EU-27. In search of the contribution by SMEs. Small & medium sized enterprises. SMEs are seen as an essential driver of economic growth in Europe ( Eurostat 2009) 99,8% of non-financial companies in Europe classify as SMEs

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technology development in the eu 27

Technology development in the EU-27

In search of the contributionbySMEs

small medium sized enterprises
Small & medium sizedenterprises
  • SMEsare seen as anessential driver of economicgrowth in Europe (Eurostat 2009)
    • 99,8% of non-financial companies in Europe classify as SMEs
    • Within the non-financial business economy SMEs represent
      • 57,4% of turnover
      • 58,7% of value added
      • 66,7% of employment
    • SMEsare assumedtoplaya pivotalrole in the innovationprocess (EC 2000)
      • Abilitytorespondquicklytochanging market needs
      • Ideal setting todevelopandroll out new technologies
the importance of ip strategy in r d intensive smes
The importance of IP strategy in R&D intensive SMEs
  • Corporate IP strategy: howtoprotect market positionandcompetitive advantage createdthroughsustained R&D efforts? How toappropriate returns fromextensive R&D andincrease operating profitandaddedvalue?

 2 IP strategy options:

        • Secrecy
        • Intellectual property rights
  • Signalingfunction of patents (especially relevant forSMEs):
    • Tocustomers: brand and marketing value
    • Toinvestorsandcreditors: granted patents suggest novelty of technologyandpotentialforfutureearningsattracting VC,…
    • To employees: attractpromisingpersonnel, enhance employee moral
barriers for smes to apply for ipr
BarriersforSMEstoapplyfor IPR
  • Barriers for SMEs to engage in patent activity
    • Lack of understanding of IPRsandapplication procedures
    • Fearfordisclosinginnovationtoindustry majors
    • Cost of patent application: patent office administrativefees, patent attorneyfees, industrial property consultancy
    • Cost of maintenance: (increasing) maintenance fees
    • Cost of legislationaftergrant: defencecoststoenforce patent protectionagainstinfringers(even worse in complex industries, defending a patent canmeanbetting the company foran SME)
policy awareness
Policy awareness
  • Policy awareness regardingthe role of SMEswithinnationalinnovation systems
    • Europe:
      • European Commission hosts an IPR-helpdesk for SMEs
      • Unitary EPO patent (25 of 27 member states), reducing administrative costs, translation costs and litigation costs
    • Japan:
      • SME IP support at prefectural SME support centers
      • Database of senior personnel in large companies with experience in IP
      • Prior-art patent searching free of charge for a.o.SMEs
      • Reduction and exemption of patent annuities for a.o. SMEs
      • Accelerated examination system
      • JPO assistance for strategic foreign applications by regional SMEs
  • Large scalemappingand monitoring of SME contributiontopatentingis currently absent! Duetoconsiderablemethodologicalchallenges,
patent data opportunities and challenges
Patent data: opportunitiesandchallenges
  • Opportunities: systematicavailability of patent data (e.g. PATSTAT) withdetailed information on:
    • Applicants, inventors
    • Address information
    • Technology domain
    • Claims of the patent
    • Cited prior art
  • But: patent databases contain no business information on applicants, not even VAT number howtoidentifySME’samong patent applicants?
financial data opportunities and challenges
Financial data: opportunitiesandchallenges
  • Opportunities: systematic availability of financial data withdetailed info on turnover, staff, assets, shareholders, …
  • Deficienciesin financial data (e.g. Amadeus)
    • Duetonationallegislation, amongothers in line with European Commission accounting directives, certain types of companies (amongothers companies not trespassing certainsize criteria andhavingsimpleownershipstructures are notobligedtocomplywith full disclosureandcanpublishsimplifiedannual accounts or are exemptedfromdisclosing financial information altogether.
    • In additionserious issue with information coverage in financial databases (absence of firms, as well as absence of specific information on firmsthat are covered)

 Relaxing the SME criteria

european commission 2003 sme definition ownership
European Commission 2003 SME definition: ownership
  • Company ownership information shouldbeconsidered as well: ‘SMEs’ partly or fullyownedbylarger companies can benefit from the financial strengthand/or centralized R&D / IP department expertise of the business group
  • assessment of shareholderstructure per company todeterminetruesize of a business and the resources towhichit has access (at the business entity or business group level)
    • Entitieswithmother company (+50%): dependent
    • Entities without mother company (no +50% shares): independent
feasibility study
  • EUROSTAT (2012 – 2013): Feasibilitystudy on large-scaleidentification of SME contribution in patenting
  • ECOOM – INCENTIM (KU Leuven)
  • Coverage: EU-27
  • Methodology:
    • Matching company names in patent database and financial database using name harmonizationtechniques
    • Disambiguation of multiple matches
    • Allocation of matchedpatenting companies withsufficient financial andownership information tosize-categories
    • Sizeverificationof representativesamples of unmatched corporate applicantsandmatched companies withinsufficient financial/ownership information (ongoing)
sme vs large company applicants1
SME vs large company applicants
  • Large entities
  • Independent small entities
  • Dependent small entities
    • Small at group level (consolidated financials available)
    • Large at group level (consolidated financials available)
    • At least large at group level (sum of mother & daughter financials)
  • Small entitieswithunknowndependence status (sample checks forextrapolation)
  • No financials available (sample checks forextrapolation)
contribution of this research
Contribution of this research
  • Scope of exercise: full EU-27
  • Use of comprehensive SME definition
  • Incorporatingshareholder information
  • Dataset anddeducted indicators on SME contribution in technologydevelopmentwiththis scope andcoverageprovides a number of applied research perspectives:
    • Technology management in SMEs
    • Investors in technologySMEs