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News blog30 November 2023European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency2 min read

IP landscape in Europe: make use of the self-learning materials of the IP Helpdesk and Your Europe website


Intellectual property rights (IPR) are legal rights aimed at protecting the creations of the intellect, such as inventions, the appearance of products, literary, artistic, and scientific works and signs, among others.


Type of creation

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs)

literary, artistic and scientific works


performances of performing artists, phonogram recordings by producers, and rights of broadcasters over radio and TV programmes

related rights or

neighbouring rights


patents and utility models

product appearance


signs - words, phrases, symbols or designs (or a combination of these) which are used as brands of goods and services

trade mark


Intellectual property is created by most companies, whatever business they are involved in. For many of these organisations, intellectual property is even their most important asset (e.g. startup or spin-out companies)

Safeguarding this possession is therefore vital and can offer SMEs many opportunities, in particular:

  • to have an exclusive set of rights in the market over their creations (for example, a patented invention allows a monopoly of twenty years, and means that a patent provides its owner with a right to prevent or exclude all others from commercially using it);
  • to obtain higher returns on their investments, since owning intellectual property rights may not only enhance the bargaining power, but may also be exploited through licences in return for royalty payments;
  • to enhance the market value and increase future profit expectations of an organisation in the eyes of investors and financing institutions.

It is therefore essential that SMEs consider protecting their creations through intellectual property and efficiently manage these assets to reap the most from their investment.

In Your Europe, a website maintained by the European Commission, you can find an overview of the intellectual property (IP) framework at the EU level and also in all Member States. A list of resources and contacts of organisations that can provide you with further assistance can also be found on this website.

National IP offices are also a valuable source of information. In the website of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), there is a Directory of Intellectual Property Offices where you can find the contact details of all IP offices in the EU.


Self-learning materials

Find below a selection of materials regarding IP protection in Europe:


European IP Helpdesk – Frequently Asked Questions

A selection of the most frequent questions received through the helpline service. This covers (non-exhaustive list) IPRs, copyright, designs, patents, trade marks, and licences, among other topics.


Your Europe Website

If you own intellectual property, you need to know how to manage and protect it. Check the benefits of protecting your intellectual property, the types of protection available and the procedures to follow. The list of benefits that you can check cover: IPRs, patents, trade marks, copyright, trade secrets, design protection, website domains, database protection, GIs, licensing and selling IP, and benefits when you come across the infringement of your IPRs.




IP Guides




Contact point

If you need any information about IP protection in Europe, do not hesitate to contact the European IP Helpdesk:

  • Email: serviceatiprhelpdesk [dot] eu (service[at]iprhelpdesk[dot]eu)
  • Phone number: +34 965 90 9692 (Helpline)



Publication date
30 November 2023
European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency