With the continuous shift towards a knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy, IP is a key consideration in day-to-day business decisions. But SMEs are not always as well versed as they should be, says Kajigailiu Gaiduwan Kamei.
New brands and new designs spring up almost on a daily basis in the market. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a driving force behind these innovations. SMEs represent 90 percent of enterprises in most countries. Despite their importance to the economy and the potential offered by the IP system for enhancing SMEs’ competitiveness, SMEs often underutilise the IP system, and their creative and innovative capacity is not always fully exploited.
This is because many SMEs are not aware of the IP system or the protection it can provide for their inventions, brands and designs. To many SMEs, IP is still an unknown concept; they think that the game can be understood only by experts. SMEs are faced with several questions. Why should they pay attention to IP? How can they survive in the international trade arena? What role can the government play in making SMEs more competitive? How can intellectual property generate wealth in the business?
Relevance of the IP system to SMEs
SMEs, IP strategy