A study reveals that IP rights such as patents help Swiss SMEs and start-ups find investors

23.01.2024 | Patents, Trade Marks

Many industries use patents, trade marks and copyright to protect their intellectual property. At the same time, emerging companies often find it difficult to turn such intangible assets into capital to support their growth. There are some exceptions, however, as a study commissioned by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) shows.

In Switzerland, 99% of companies are SMEs. They account for two thirds of the jobs in Switzerland, which makes them the country’s biggest employer. Many of these companies rely on new technologies, innovative processes, unique designs or brand recognition to stay competitive. Innovation often results in the creation of intellectual property (IP), which significantly contributes to the value of a company. Nevertheless, growing companies frequently cannot use their IP to attract external funding. Banks and regulatory authorities often do not consider IP to be sufficient security, which makes it difficult to access financing options such as loans.

Numerous SMEs benefit from financial flows thanks to IP

The Swiss study, carried out as part of the WIPO project ‘Unlocking IP-Backed Financing’, demonstrates that IP-based corporate financing can be successful. In Switzerland, the large number of innovative start-ups and the established legal framework, in particular, create favourable conditions for IP-backed financing. Investment may come from private venture capital firms or public funding programmes, for example.

Support depends on the sector

Although progress has been made, the study found that the Swiss IP financing market is still in its infancy. It’s mostly companies in high-tech industries that currently benefit from such investment. Regulatory hurdles are one reason for this. Another is that some companies lack knowledge on how to strategically deploy their IP. That’s where the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property comes in. It produces studies on various aspects of IP, provides information and courses to raise awareness of IP issues, and offers services to support SMEs.
The study gives an overview of the IP financing landscape in Switzerland and identifies barriers and possible measures to improve access to IP financing for SMEs.