Building a business: bricks and mortar or castles in the air?

Ideas, flashes of genius, Eureka-moments or hard work and research, the ways to building a business are many and varied.

Ideas, flashes of genius, Eureka-moments or hard work and research, the ways to building a business are many and varied. The basics though are that success in the business world depends on being able to build a protective fence around your product(s) in order to push your competitors a little further away and having the tools to stop would be pirate copyists before they even reach the marketplace - or at very least quickly get them off the market once detected.

One relatively easy way to protect your business is to apply for IP protection, be it patents, design, trade marks or copyright protection. That this really pays off is abundantly clear in the latest edition of a report, published October 11, 2022, by EPO and EUIPO. This report shows a clear difference, on the all important bottom line, between companies making use of the instruments available through IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) as opposed to those that do not prioritise the use of these protective instruments. The report shows that IPR-intensive industries, within the EU and between 2017-2019, generated 29.7% of all jobs. This translates to the fact that the business sectors which apply for and use trade marks, designs and patents together generated employment for some 61 million people in EU, and a further 20 million people were employed supplying goods and services to these IPR-intensive business. This means that a whopping total of 82 million people, almost 40 percent of all jobs, were dependent on IPR.

A further report highlighting Denmark, one of the more IPR-intensive countries in the EU, show that almost a third of all jobs were found in industries based on IPR which generated 47% of the Danish GDP between 2017-2019. And not only that, Denmark whose industrial businesses are among the most IPR-active of the EU countries, also show the astonishing return on investment in terms of IPR. It may come as no surprise that Danish patent-heavy industries, with patents commonly seen as the ‘king’ of IPR, make up about 20% of Denmark’s IPR and provide just under 10% of the work places in Denmark. Surprising, however, may be the fact that for trade mark-heavy industries the same figures are 41% of the GDP and 22% of the work places with design-reliant industry come in at 16% of GDP and almost 12% of the work places. Proof that the costs of IPR really do pay.

If nothing else this proves that active and strategic use of IPR is crucial to any business’ success and market impact. It also shows that it is important to continue working actively with your IPR. While it may be tempting to frame an issued Letter of Patent or Certificate of Design registration and hang it on the wall or lock the papers into the company safe, IPR must be kept up to date, amended and updated along with the products and services which are adjusted to follow the market and customers’ needs and wants.