New report shows strong IP awareness among UK SMEs

15th May 2024

The study, which investigated IP awareness across all SME sizes and sectors, found a high level of reported IP awareness and registration.

woman opening shop

Overall, 79% of respondents reported familiarity with the term “intellectual property”, with 43% claiming to be “very familiar”.

The survey received responses from 1,081 business owners, sole traders, or employees at mid-management, senior management, director or C-Suite level.

Of these, 63% say that they have made use of IP protection, with 84% saying that they see the measures they have taken as important.

Awareness of trade marks

While awareness of IP as a whole sits at 79%, awareness of trade marks and other individual forms of IP is much higher. 96% of respondents said they were familiar with the concept of trade marks, and 95% are aware of patents.

However, confidence sits at a much lower level – 33% respondents claimed to feel able to talk about copyright in detail, more than other forms of IP right. 27% felt able to do the same for trade marks.

Usage of IP

Businesses that make use of trade marks are the most likely to say that they do so with a view to gaining legal protection. 87% of those using trade marks give this as their primary reason for doing so.

However, only 79% of those using either patents or design rights say the same.

Businesses note the value of IP as a way to improve their future prospects, in addition to offering protection in the present.

60% of businesses that use IP protection claim to have a specific IP strategy, with start-ups being more likely to fall into this category than other types of business.

Of the respondents who said that they have IP protection, 42% said that they hope to use their IP as a tool to help them grown their business, with 40% seeking to improve their business reputation.

The survey

This survey was conducted in February 2023, with all respondents coming from the UK. The UK IPO’s full findings from the survey can be explored here.