In this report, we look at the big picture of IP management across the globe – and offer some case studies of small firms that have, in different ways, tackled their IP problems and won. With so much at stake, they couldn’t afford to fail.
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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of economies around the world. In Europe, however, meagre access to finance is a vexing hurdle for millions of small businesses. This special Science|Business report explores whether clever intellectual property (IP) management can help small firms ease the cash crunch. Banks traditionally have provided the vast majority of financing for European SMEs; but bank lending shrank in the wake of the global financial crisis and is expected to remain tight in coming years amid increasingly stringent regulatory constraints. With credit so scarce, SMEs could turn to equity but Europe’s fragmented venture capital industry has also been hit by a funding squeeze, curbing its capacity to provide growth companies with long-term financing.