The Role of Patent Information in Innovation

A grant from the ESRC has allowed an examination of the use that small UK firms make of the patent system. Two surveys – one of firms that have patented, the other of firms that have not – suggest that the protection offered by the patent system is of little importance for innovation in these firms, and that information from the patent system is of even less importance. The scope of the research has been extended with the help of Oxfam and the Quaker Mission to the United Nations to consider the impact of TRIPS on innovation in the developing world. The project has also considered the importance of patents in organisational strategy.