Many SMEs overlooking the value of intangible assets.

Thousands of UK SMEs have untapped intellectual property (IP) assets available to them, according to Jonathan Cornthwaite, Intellectual Property Partner at city law firm Wedlake Bell.

He advises that a firm’s intangible assets could often be more valuable than its physical assets – such as its real estate, plant, equipment or machinery.

Although up to 80% of larger companies’ values are reportedly attributable to intangible assets, he explains that smaller companies too often neglect to invest in protecting or growing their intellectual property.

IP Protection options

The law firm explains that small businesses have a range of IP protection options open to them, including database rights, copyright, patents, trade marks, registered and un-registered designs, and domain name rights.

Recently reported English court decisions –for example, Redwood Tree Services v Redwood Tree Surgeons and Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) v Lee (t/a “Cropton Brewery”) – show that even small firms are prepared to litigate to defend their IP rights.

“In such unstable economic times, Intellectual Property remains a winner.IP is very diverse, flexible and accessible, with the cost of protection and registration being often much lower than people imagine. And the commercial exploitation of IP in Britain is particularly favoured by its extensive and sophisticated set of IP laws,” Corntwaite concludes.