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Smaller businesses are struggling to protect their ideas, according to new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
A quarter of business owners suffered a violation of their intellectual property (IP) in the past five years. Half of these said that a product had been copied by a rival, a third reported use of copyrighted work on a website, and a further third said they had experienced trademark infringements.
Such infringements can be incredibly damaging: Almost one in three firms derive from 75% to 100% of revenue from their IP.
Smaller businesses spend a significant amount of time and money protecting their IP, putting in place patents, copyright, trademarks, branding and product designs. This takes away valuable resources from business development, potentially putting growth and innovation at risk. Of firms that took part in the survey, 32% said they had spent money on their property rights within the last five years, with one in five of those investing more than £5,000. But even with security, IP is still regularly stolen.
The Intellectual Property Office has implemented tools and strategies to help SMEs combat intellectual property theft, but the FSB research shows that small firms continue to find it hard to use them.
“The knowledge economy, which runs on innovative ideas and brands, is becoming ever more critical to our economic success,” said John Allan, FSB national chairman. “Left unchecked, theft and infringement of ideas, patents and brand costs small businesses and diminishes their appetite to invest in their business, ultimately hampering the UK’s long-term economic growth.”
Last year a third of smaller firms that had IP stolen took no action against perpetrators and two fifths said they used direct contact with the infringer to address the issue. Reasons for not taking action included cost, lack of resources and lack of awareness of appropriate routes.
"Very easy. Bea Luseni very efficient & knowledgeable."This review was posted by Alan Duffy on the 31st of March 2017
Super helpful and easy to work with
"Recommend this company in a heartbeat - Nicole Borneuf was super easy to talk to, was not pushy in the slightest, very helpful and replied with all my questions very professionally and did all she could to help. I had to deal with a few companies to sort my business energy out, all but Nicole were too pushy for my liking and I refused to follow through with them. Thank Nicole - you are a credit to your company, thank you for making the stressful energy change so easy."This review was posted by Mia Drew on the 29th of March 2017
An Extremely Competent Company
"Switch my business has not only helped my SME secure a good energy deal for the second year running but Jessica swiftly found a alternative supplier for me when I was let down on the day of switching by the new contractual provider I had chosen some 4 months previously. Being suddenly out of contract and without provider is everyone's energy nightmare. Greatest thanks."This review was posted by S McMillan on the 29th of March 2017
Helpful, friendly and we saved lots of money!
"Jessica Purnell was helpful and friendly, she made the whole process easy and simple AND we saved lots of money thanks Jess"This review was posted by Melanie Baker on the 23rd of March 2017
Quick & Easy
"Kabibi was very helpful and the whole process was very efficient. The one small reservation I had was that I was phoned up by Kabibi almost immediately having received my online quote - which wasn't enough time for me to finish reading the quotes! Fortunately she was able to assist me in a greater savings on both Gas & Electricity, and so as long as the switchover is seamless I will remain very happy with the service."This review was posted by Amanda Brown on the 21st of March 2017