Companies with industrial property rights: higher revenue, more employees and higher wages

companies patents trademarks designs

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163% more employees, with 19% higher wages and 20% more revenue per employee. These are the advantages of companies with industrial property rights (patents, trademarks and designs) over those that do not have said rights, according to a macro-study conducted in conjunction with the European Union Intellectual Property Office and the European Patent Office, which analysed 127 thousand companies in the EU and the United Kingdom.

The main indicator in the “Intellectual property rights and firm performance in European Union” report is revenue per employee, which on average is 20.2% higher for companies with intangible assets protected by industrial property rights. This number soars up to 68% in the case of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), although according to this analysis, only 9% of these firms own patents, trademarks and/or designs, compared with 55% of large firms.

More employment with higher wages

With regard to different types of protection, companies that own patents most outscore their counterparts that do not own said intangible assets in revenue per employee, this number being 36.3% higher on average. Moreover, employee wages at these companies are 52.6% higher. In firms with registered trademarks, revenue per employee is 20.9% higher, and this figure rises to 32.2% for owners of protected designs. These companies offer wages that are 17.4% and 29.7% higher, respectively.

Source: “Intellectual property rights and firm performance in the European Union”


In any case, companies typically have more than one type of protection and, in fact, this combination is what yields the best results. In the case of SMEs which own the three types of industrial property titles analysed (patents, trademarks and designs), the revenue per employee practically doubles (98% more). Nevertheless, only 1% of European SMEs own the three types of intangible assets.

The relationship between industrial property and the number of jobs is another key finding of the study. It concludes that companies with industrial property assets employ more than double (2.6 times) the number of employees than their counterparts that do not own such assets. These numbers are particularly striking when the protection titles have a European scope rather than a national scope. In comparison with the 5 employees of companies without industrial property rights, firms with a European patent employ 43 people, firms with a Community design employ 38 people, and firms with registered European trademarks would have an average of 24 employees.

Spain ranks sixth

11 thousand Spanish companies, which correspond to one thousand large companies, five thousand SMEs and five thousand micro companies, have been taken into account in the report. Of all these companies, only 11.7% own some type of protected industrial property asset. In any case, this figure is enough to put Spain in sixth place in a ranking led by Malta, Portugal and Cyprus. However, when the number is analysed qualitatively, it is found that the vast majority of said assets owned by Spanish companies are trademarks, and the number of European patents and designs are very far from the top of the European ranking.

Despite the strength of the data, the study does not provide recommendations for developing specific policies, although it does aim “to serve as a basis for raising awareness of industrial and intellectual property among Europe’s citizens in general and among small and medium-sized companies in particular”.

The full report is avalaible by clicking here.

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