Innovation protection by SMEs: The case of the north east of the Netherlands

Mischa C. Mol*, Enno Masurel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


SMEs do not own many patents. Although the reasons for not patenting have been the subject of much research, little is known on the alternatives that SMEs use. This article discusses a case study on the protection of innovations by SMEs by means of an analysis of the patent data and 20 interviews with owners or managers. This case study confirms the findings that SMEs do not own many patents, but adds to this that the SMEs that do own patents do not let them expire as much as bigger companies. The interviews showed that 65% of the respondents favoured other forms of protection, especially confidentiality clauses. The interviews also showed that age, type of innovation and R&D expenses influence the adoption of protective actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Intellectual Property Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Innovation
  • Intellectual property
  • Netherlands
  • Patents
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises


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