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The use of patent databases by European small and medium-sized enterprises

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 21:50 authored by A Arundel, Ed Steinmueller
Patent databases contain a wealth of technical information, but only a fraction of innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SAIEs) use them as an information source. The characteristics of SAIEs that use patent databases and the reasons why they do or do not use them are investigated in this study. Part of the analysis is based on the Community Innovation Survey results, which is the largest survey to date of innovative European firms. The results show that the probability of using patent databases increases with firm size and is higher among firms that perform research and development or which find patents of value as an appropriation method. Furthermore, the percentage of firms in each of 14 sectors that find patents to be an important information source is correlated with the patent propensity rale in each sector. The second part of the study is based on a combined survey and interview study of Dutch SAIEs in five high-technology sectors. The results show that SMEs mainly use patent databases to acquire information, often for legal purposes, that is not available from any other source. In contrast, these databases are seldom used to acquire technical data, largely because of the cost in terms of personnel time and expertise. This points to the need for simpler and more efficient methods of searching patent databases.


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  • Published


Technology Analysis and Strategic Management







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  • SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Publications

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