EUROPE: Guide of intellectual property for small agro-food industries


Intellectual Property for Agri-food Small and Medium Enterprises

Author: Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico and WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation).

Content: In dynamic and highly competitive markets, two key strategic requirements for becoming and remaining competitive are continuous innovationand effective marketing. Both should be “fit-for-purpose” and executed efficiently and effectively by an enterprise or by a horizontally or vertically coordinated/integrated group of enterprises.

However, most small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including small- and medium-sized farms and other agri-food SMEs, are not aware of the importance of
innovation, effective marketing or the links of innovation and/or marketing to the different types of intangible assets that may be protected and leveraged in business by the efficient and effective use of one or more types of intellectual property rights (IPRs). In fact, most SMEs, including small- and medium-sized farms and other agri-food SMEs, know practically nothing about IPRs and their potential contribution to their success in the marketplace.

The primary objective of this guide is to highlight the importance of effective IP asset management by owners, managers and employees of small- and medium-sized farms and other agri-food SMEs in order to become and remain competitive. It relies on numerous illustrations and case studies of innovative farms and other agri-food enterprises.

The guide has four chapters and seven annexes:

  • Chapter 1 explains the purpose, defines the target audience and outlines the structure of the guide.
  • Chapter 2 provides some salient snapshots of the historical context of the different types of IPRs with particular reference to agriculture and germplasm or seeds.
  • Chapter 3, the bulk of the guide, describes the different types of IPRs of relevance to the agri-food SMEs.
  • Chapter 4 focuses on some of the key issues in leveraging and managing IPRs.
  • Annex 1 provides the historical context of food and agriculture.
  • Annex 2 outlines the remit of the agri-food sector and, in particular defines food and beverage (F&B) supply chains and value chains.
  • Annex 3 provides snapshots of diverse facets of the agri-food sector in a global context.
  • Annex 4 focuses on the different types of innovations that undergird the competitiveness of different components and stakeholders in agri-food value chains.
  • Annex 5 deals with the evolution of modern global food supply/value chains (FSCs) and the alternatives that seek to address the negative fallout of these chains.
  • Annex 6 brings out the key elements of the enabling environment needed for the success of the agri-food SMEs in the era of global FSCs.
  • Annex 7 considers the challenges posed by a highly competitive business environment, the nature of competitive advantage and the importance of innovation in marketing.

Some examples related to herbs and spices are provided, related to the patenting of speciality foods and patent claims (page 182), and food fraud and counterfeit and pirated agri-food products (page 291).

Access to publication

Source: ACCIÓ. Agència per a la competitivitat de l’empresa. Generalitat de Catalunya.



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