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Intellectual Property Theft Puts Business Development At Risk

A quarter of businesses with intellectual property rights have had their patent violated over the past 5 years, research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found.

The survey of more than 1,000 FSB member businesses suggests that many small firms are struggling to protect the ideas that are driving growth in their businesses. Almost 1 in 3 businesses with intellectual property rely on it to generate between 75 and 100% of their revenue.

The most common means of intellectual property theft are:

  • unlawful copying of a product (50%)
  • use of copyrighted work on a website (34%)
  • use of a copyrighted work in a service or product (33%)
  • use of a trademark (31%).

There is a wealth of options available for businesses that experience intellectual property theft. The Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, the Intellectual Property Office’s mediation service and the intellectual property finance toolkit can help businesses to recoup losses incurred from copyright theft.

Despite this, less than a third of surveyed businesses (29%) who had intellectual property stolen took action against the culprits.

John Allan, national chairman of the FSB, said:

“Proper protection of intellectual property is a mainstream issue which deserves a mainstream focus. The knowledge economy, which runs on innovative ideas and brands, is becoming ever more critical to our economic success.

“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.”

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