Companies in Poland poorly protect their intellectual property
Although the number of inventions filed by entrepreneurs has increased significantly since Poland’s accession to the EU, we are still far behind in Europe in terms of patents granted. In 2019, Poland reached 36% of the EU average in the international patent application procedure, lagging behind such countries as Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
About 4,000 applications are filed with the Polish Patent Office each year (except for the record year 2015). However, their authors are mainly universities and SMEs. Last year, the largest enterprises, employing over 250 people, accounted for only 12% of all submitted applications. A way to increase the number of patents in Poland are instruments supporting innovation, such as grants, R&D relief or IP Box.
Patent statistics in Poland
In 2019, domestic entities filed 3,946 applications for registration of inventions and patent applications with the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland. Among enterprises, the majority of inventions were filed by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, accounting for 88% of all applications from the business sector. Most applications were submitted by companies from Mazowieckie (19%) and Śląskie (13%) voivodeships. Each of the remaining voivodships accounted for less than 10% of applications, with the smallest share of companies from Lubelskie (1.5%) and Opolskie (1.6%) voivodeships. As regards technical fields, the greatest number of inventions are related to civil engineering (236), chemistry of high quality organic compounds (188) and specialised equipment (181).
Since 2005, the number of patents granted by the Patent Office to entities in Poland has increased dramatically, from 305 to 1,234 per year. This can be linked to the growing awareness of entrepreneurs about the possibility of applying for intellectual property protection. But according to analyses of patent databases, intellectual property created in our country is still only protected by less than 20% of patents. 11% are still pending and 69% have no commercial value due to the loss, expiry or cancellation of protection.
Polish patents in Europe
According to the European Patent Office (EPO Patent Index 2019), the number of patent applications filed by Polish entities decreased last year by almost 10%. However, this decrease was preceded by two years of strong growth, and from the perspective of a decade, the number of Polish applications increased from 205 to 469 in 2019, putting Poland in the 26th position out of 50 classified countries. Some of the leading Polish innovators conquering Europe are the biopharmaceutical concern Ryvu Therapeutics (formerly: Selvita) and the Jagiellonian University, which filed 8 patent applications each. Next positions were taken by a 3D printer manufacturer – 3DGence, and the Silesian University of Technology (7 applications each), as well as Adamed Pharma (5 applications filed).
Support for the protection of intellectual property
European funds may come in useful in strengthening the protection of intellectual property in enterprises in Poland. In the years 2014-2020, a number of competitions aimed at direct and indirect support for the potential of Polish entities were launched. The most popular one is sub-measure 1.1.1 (the so-called fast track) supervised by the National Centre for Research and Development.
Another mechanism supporting the protection of intellectual property are tax incentives, such as the R&D relief available since 2016 and the IP Box introduced last year, which assumes a preferential 5% tax rate on income obtained from the commercialisation of eligible intellectual property rights. Such rights include e.g. patents (also those registered with the European Patent Office), protection rights for utility models or industrial designs.
Przemysław Gabrysiak, Ayming Poland expert on innovation and EU funds
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Last Updated on January 14, 2021 by Karolina Ampulska