As an initiative to support SMEs to pursue their IP rights, the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs has introduced a new IP action plan. The hope is that the initiatives included in the plan will further drive innovation in Denmark.
More than 65% of large Danish corporations own registered IP rights, which is the second-highest number in the EU, however, according to a survey conducted by EUIPO in 2021, only 10% of Danish SMEs have their IP rights secured in patents. This is mainly due to limited financial recourses for obtaining a patent and, importantly, lack of IP awareness and the value it can create for the company. A strong IP-strategy, however, is important for SMEs to protect and commercialise their technologies and to secure future investments.
Some of the initiatives included in the IP action plan are:
- A patent voucher system, where 3 million DKK has been allocated yearly in 2021-2023 as financial support for SMEs. An SME can apply for up to 75,000 DKK yearly to cover the cost for patent work and IP consultancy fees, providing the much needed funding to help protect their technologies and innovation.
- Establishing a fast-track patent system to benefit companies in industries with fast-paced technological developments, e.g. tech and gaming industries where there is a need for fast patent prosecution and grant of patents. This will minimize the period of legal uncertainty and be important to attract investors. The fast-track patent system aims to grant a patent in only 6-10 months, which is more than twice as fast as the “normal” patent system in Denmark.
- Establishing two IPR information centres in Denmark to strengthen SMEs’ access to knowledge of IP rights and opportunities for commercialisation of their innovation.
- Increasing awareness of IPR in students and future entrepreneurs by developing new teaching material for school and initiating a collaboration between the Danish Patent and Trademark Office (DKPTO) and selected educational institutions.
- Increasing awareness of the dangerous consequences of buying counterfeited goods.
- Establishing a new mentoring program that allows SMEs to engage in knowledge sharing with companies with IPR experience. The mentoring program will act as a bridge between IPR-experienced and inexperienced companies, where mentor and mentee are part of a learning partnership.
At Potter Clarkson, we welcome the new initiative from the Danish government and find that the action plan holds many promising initiatives that will support the growth of SMEs in Denmark in the future and create excellent opportunities to get the right IP-strategy early in the process. We would be happy to discuss how your SME can benefit from the new initiatives.